National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35”
Fiction Selections for 2006

The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, announced the fiction selections for its new program, “5 Under 35,” which was created to highlight the work of the next generation of gifted young fiction writers. Five National Book Awards fiction finalists from previous years were asked to select one fiction writer under the age of 35 whose work they find particularly promising and exciting.

On November 13, 2006, as part of National Book Awards Week, these five writers attended an invitation only event at the Paula Cooper Gallery in Chelsea where they read selections from their work. Each 5 Under 35 author was introduced by the National Book Award Fiction Finalist who selected them. The event was hosted by novelist and founder of the acclaimed Happy Ending Reading Series, Amanda Stern. The chosen authors also attended the National Book Awards Dinner and Ceremony on November 15th at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

O My Darling by Amity Gaige (Other Press)
Selected by Christopher Sorrentino

The Seas by Samantha Hunt (Picador)
Selected by René Steinke

Corpus Christi: Stories by Bret Anthony Johnston (Random House)
Selected by Adam Haslett

Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap (Grove Atlantic)
Selected by Joan Silber

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer (Riverhead Books)
Selected by Edward P. Jones

More about the featured authors and
the National Book Award authors who selected them:

Amity Gaige

Amity Gaige lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with her family, and teaches at Mt. Holyoke College. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her debut novel, O My Darling, was published in 2005. Her second novel, The Folded World, is forthcoming in April 2007.

Photo credit: Sarma Ozols

Christopher Sorrentino

Christopher Sorrentino is the author of two novels, Sound on Sound and Trance, which was a 2005 National Book Award finalist. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including A Public Space, Blender, Bookforum, Conjunctions, McSweeney's, The New York Times Book Review, and Playboy. He lives in Brooklyn and teaches writing at Eugene Lang College of the New School.

Samantha Hunt

Samantha Hunt is an artist and writer from New York. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s Cabinet, Seed Magazine, Jubilat and on the radio program This American Life. Her forthcoming novel, The Invention of Everything Else, will be published by Houghton Mifflin in the fall of 2007. Her play, The Difference Engine, a story about the life of Charles Babbage, was produced by the Theater of the Two Headed Calf. She teaches writing at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

Photo credit: Marion Ettlinger

René Steinke

René Steinke’s novel Holy Skirts was a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction in 2005. and a nominee for the 2006 Library of Virginia Prize. Her debut novel The Fires, published in 1999, was featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Steinke has an M.F.A from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her work has also appeared in such places as The New York Times Magazine, Vogue and Bookforum. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Literary Review and teaches writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

Bret Anthony Johnston

Bret Anthony Johnston is the author of the internationally acclaimed Corpus Christi: Stories (Random House, 2004). Named a Best Book of the Year by The Independent of London and The Irish Times, the collection has received the Southern Review's Annual Short Fiction Award, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, the Texas Institute of Letters' Debut Fiction Award, the Christopher Isherwood Prize, the James Michener Fellowship from the Michener-Copernicus Society of America, and was shortlisted for Ireland's Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, "the richest short story prize in the world." His work appears in magazines such as The Paris Review, Oxford American, and Tin House, and in numerous anthologies such as New Stories from the South: The Year's Best 2003, 2004, and 2005. He is a graduate of Miami University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. Currently, he is the Director of Creative Writing at Harvard University. He can be reached on the web at

Photo credit: Stephanie Dani

Adam Haslett

Adam Haslett is the author of You Are Not a Stranger Here, a National Book Award Fiction Finalist in 2002 and a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he won this year's PEN/Malamud Prize for accomplishment in short fiction. He's presently at work on a novel.

Rattawut Lapcharoensap

Rattawut Lapcharoensap was born in Chicago and raised in Bangkok. He was educated at Triamudomsuksa Pattanakarn, Cornell University, and the University of Michigan, where he received an MFA in creative writing. His honors include the David TK Wong Fellowship, the Avery Jules Hopwood Award, and the Andrea Beauchamp Prize. His stories have appeared and are upcoming in Granta, Glimmer Train, Zoetrope: All Story, One Story, and Best New American Voices. Sightseeing will be published in nine countries.

Photo credit: June Glasson

Joan Silber

Joan Silber is the author of Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories, a Finalist for the 2004 National Book Award and the Story Prize. Her four other books of fiction are Lucky Us, In My Other Life, In the City, and Household Words, winner of a PEN/Hemingway Award. Her work has been chosen for the O. Henry Prize Stories and The Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Paris Review, and other magazines. She’s received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She lives in New York City and she teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

ZZ Packer

ZZ Packer was born in Chicago and raised in Atlanta and Louisville. She attended Yale University and the Writing Seminar at Johns Hopkins University, The Writers' Workshop at Iowa University and was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. The title story of her recently published short-story collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, was included in The New Yorker's Debut Fiction issue in 2000, and her work has also appeared in Seventeen, Harper's, The Best American Short Stories 2000, Ploughshares and has been anthologized in 25 and Under: Fiction. ZZ Packer lives in San Francisco and is diligently at work on a novel.


Edward P. Jones

Edward P. Jones, the New York Times bestselling author and National Book Awards Finalist in 2003, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Lannan Literary Award for The Known World; he also received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2004. His first collection of short stories, Lost in the City, won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. He has taught fiction writing at a range of universities, including Princeton. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Amanda Stern, host

Amanda Stern is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Long Haul. She’s been published in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Believer, Filmmaker, Paste, Spinning Jenny, Swink, among many others. In 2003 she founded the popular, Happy Ending Music and Reading Series, in the Chinatown bar, Happy Ending. It ran for five years and was widely considered the most best authors’ series in the city. Throughout its five year run, the event was praised regularly by New York Magazine, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, NY Press and The New Yorker, The Village Voice and NY Press. The New York Times Magazine called Stern a “New Bohemian,” who is “helping to keep downtown, New York alive.” In January 2009, The famed series moved to Joe’s Pub to become that venue’s first-ever ongoing literary series. Stern has held residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell and is currently working on her next novel.