Kalani Pickhart has won the 2022 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award for her novel I Will Die in a Foreign Land. The story follows four individuals over the course of a volatile Ukrainian winter, as their lives become intertwined and are forever changed by the Euromaidan protests triggered by President Yanukovych’s decision to align with Russia instead of the European Union in 2013.
The other finalists were Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour, Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel Moniz, The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu by Tom Lin, and Something New Under the Sun by Alexandra Kleeman.
Founded in 2001 by Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, Rick Moody, and Hannah McFarland, the Young Lions Fiction Award is given annually to an American writer age 35 or younger for either a novel or a collection of short stories. Each year, five young fiction writers are selected as finalists by a reading committee of writers, editors, and librarians. A panel of award judges—which this year includes 2019 winner Ling Ma—will select the winner of this year’s $10,000 prize.
Past winners of the Young Lions Fiction Award include last year’s winner Catherine Lacey, Pew; Claire Vaye Watkins, Battleborn; Ling Ma, Severance; Molly Antopol, The UnAmericans; and Bryan Washington, Lot. Past nominees have included: Kiley Reid, Such a Fun Age; Nick Drnaso, Sabrina; Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones; C Pam Zhang, How Much of These Hills is Gold; and Julia Phillips, Disappearing Earth.
The Award is made possible by an endowment created with generous gifts from Russell Abrams, Nina Collins, Hannah and Gavin McFarland, Ethan Hawke, Stephan Loewentheil, Rick Moody, Andrea Olshan, and Jennifer Rudolph Walsh.
The Young Lions is a special membership group for people in their 20s and 30s who love literature, a good cocktail, and the Library. Membership provides critical support to the Library’s Book Fund, which ensures all New Yorkers have access to books, e-books, and other essential resources, completely free of charge.