The National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” Fiction, 2010

Photos taken at the 5 Under 35 Celebration by Beowulf Sheehan,

2010 marks the fifth year of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 selections, recognizing five young fiction writers chosen by National Book Award Winners and Finalists. Last year’s reading and party at powerHouse Arena in DUMBO, Brooklyn prompted The Huffington Post to publish a piece called “How to Throw a Party for Books: The NBA’s 5 Under 35 Event.” This year’s celebration will again be held at powerHouse Arena at the start of National Book Awards Week on Monday, November 15, hosted by musician and author Rosanne Cash with music journalist Rob Sheffield as DJ.

Leslie Shipman, Director of Programs at the NBF, comments, “In the five years of 5 Under 35, we’ve been thrilled to see many of our honorees go on to receive great acclaim. We’re delighted that 5 Under 35 provides us with an opportunity to recognize these young writers early in their careers, with the help of past National Book Award Winners and Finalists.”

The 2010 5 Under 35 Honorees are:

Sarah Braunstein

The Sweet Relief of Missing Children
(W.W. Norton & Co., 2011)
Selected by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum,
National Book Award Fiction Finalist for Madeleine Is Sleeping, 2004

Grace Krilanovich

The Orange Eats Creeps
(Two Dollar Radio, 2010)
Selected by Scott Spencer,
Fiction Finalist for A Ship Made of Paper, 2003; Fiction Finalist for Endless Love, 1980 and 1981

Téa Obreht

The Tiger’s Wife
(Random House, 2011)
Selected by Colum McCann,
Fiction Winner for Let the Great World Spin, 2009

Tiphanie Yanique

How to Escape from a Leper Colony
(Graywolf, 2010)
Selected by Jayne Anne Phillips,
Fiction Finalist for Lark and Termite, 2009

Paul Yoon

Once the Shore
(Sarabande, 2009)
Selected by Kate Walbert,
Fiction Finalist for Our Kind, 2004

The 5 Under 35 Celebration’s Host

Rosanne Cash has recorded fourteen albums charting twenty-one Top 40 country singles, 11 of which made it to # 1, and two gold records. She has received ten Grammy nominations—winning in 1985—and was nominated this year for “Sea of Heartbreak,” a duet with Bruce Springsteen on her current CD, The List. Cash achieved the highest chart position of her career with the debut of The List. The album, which Vanity Fair called “superb,” debuted in the Top 5 on the Country Chart, and entered The Billboard 200 at No. 22. Cash is the author of Bodies of Water and the children’s book Penelope Jane: A Fairy’s Tale. Her essays and fiction have been published in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and New York magazine. Her memoir, Composed, was published by Viking in 2010. She lives in New York City with her husband and children.

The 5 Under 35 Celebration’s Featured DJ

A Conversation between Rob Sheffield and Amanda Stern

Rob Sheffield has been a music journalist for more than twenty years. He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, where he writes about music, TV, and pop culture, and regularly appears on MTV and VH1. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Love Is a Mix Tape, which has been translated into French, German, Italian, Swedish, Japanese, Russian, and other languages he cannot read. He lives in Brooklyn, New York


Our Video Interviewer, Amanda Stern

Amanda Stern is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Long Haul (Soft Skull Press) two young adult novels (Hyperion) and a series of nine books for children (Grossett + Dunlap) called, Frankly, Frannie. She is the founder, curator and host of the popular “Happy Ending Music and Reading Series™” at Joe’s Pub in NYC. She’s been the curator and host for the Pen American Center, Mass MoCa and had the honor to host the first National Book Awards “5 Under 35,” ceremony. She was the Phillip Morris Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, the Joan and John Jakobson fellow at the Wesleyan University’s Writers’ Conference, and just a regular fellow at Yaddo. She lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and is working on her sixth Frankly, Frannie book and her next adult novel.

Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan,

5 Under 35 Honorees

Sarah Braunstein is the recipient of the Rona Jaffe Writers' Award. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and lives in Portland, Maine. Her novel, The Sweet Relief of Missing Children, will be published by W.W. Norton in 2011.

Photo credit: Brendan Bullock

Grace Krilanovich
has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow and a finalist for the Starcherone Prize. Her first book, The Orange Eats Creeps, is the only novel to be excerpted twice in the literary magazine Black Clock.

Photo credit: Scott Tarasco

Téa Obreht was born in 1985 in the former Yugoslavia, and spent her childhood in Cyprus and Egypt before eventually immigrating to the United States in 1997. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Téa received her MFA in Fiction from the Creative Writing Program at Cornell University in 2009. Her first novel, The Tiger's Wife, will be published by Random House in 2011. Her fiction debut—an excerpt of The Tiger's Wife in The New Yorker—was selected for the The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010. Her second publication, the short story The Laugh, was published in the summer 2009 fiction issue of The Atlantic, and will be anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2010. Téa currently lives in Ithaca, New York.

Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

Tiphanie Yanique is the author of How to Escape from a Leper Colony. Her writing has won the Boston Review Prize in Fiction, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright in Creative Writing and an Academy of American Poet's Prize. Her fiction has also appeared in Callaloo, Transition Magazine, American Short Fiction, the London Magazine and other publications. She is an assistant professor of creative writing and Caribbean Literature at Drew University. On January 1st, the Boston Globe listed Tiphanie as one of the sixteen cultural figures to watch out for in 2010, and this fall she received a 2010 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. Tiphanie is from the Virgin Islands.

Photo credit: Bill Cardoni

Paul Yoon was born in New York City. His first book, Once the Shore, was a New York Times Notable Book; a Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Publishers Weekly, and Minneapolis Star Tribune Best Book of the Year; and selected as a Best Debut of the Year by National Public Radio. He is the recipient of an O. Henry Award, the John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares, and his work has appeared in One Story, American Short Fiction, Glimmer Train, and The Best American Short Stories. He currently resides in Baltimore with the fiction writer Laura van den Berg.

Photo credit: Peter Yoon

National Book Award Authors

Sarah Shun-lien BynumSarah Shun-lien Bynum is the author of two novels, Ms. Hempel Chronicles, a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award, and Madeleine Is Sleeping, a Finalist for the 2004 National Book Award and winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her fiction has appeared in several magazines and anthologies, including The New Yorker, Tin House, The Georgia Review, and The Best American Short Stories 2004 and 2009. The recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and an NEA Fellowship, she directs the MFA program in writing at the University of California, San Diego. She lives in Los Angeles and was recently named one of “20 Under 40” fiction writers by The New Yorker.

Photo credit: Leigh Dana Jackson

Colum McCannColum McCann's newest novel, Let the Great World Spin, won the 2009 National Book Award and is a New York Times bestseller. He is the author of two collections of short stories and five novels, including This Side of Brightness, Dancer, and Zoli, all of which were international bestsellers. His fiction has been published in 30 languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, The Paris Review, Bomb, and other places. He has written for numerous publications, including The Irish Times, Die Zeit, La Repubblica, Paris Match, The New York Times, the Guardian, and The Independent. In 2003 Colum was named Esquire magazine's "Writer of the Year." Other awards and honors include a Pushcart Prize, the Rooney Prize, a French Chevalier des arts et lettres, and the Hennessy Award for Irish Literature. Colum was born in Dublin in 1965 and began his career as a journalist at The Irish Press. Colum teaches at Hunter College in New York, in the Creative Writing program, with fellow novelists Peter Carey and Nathan Englander.

Photo credit: Brendan Bourke

Jayne Anne PhillipsJayne Anne Phillips was born in Buckhannon, West Virginia. She is the author of four novels, MotherKind (2000), Shelter (1994), Machine Dreams (1984), and Lark and Termite (2009), and two collections of widely anthologized stories, Fast Lanes (1987) and Black Tickets (1979). She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and a Bunting Fellowship. She has been awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction (1980) and an Academy Award in Literature (1997) by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has been translated into twelve languages, and has appeared in Granta, Harper’s, DoubleTake, and The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. She is currently Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. Her most recent novel, Lark and Termite, was a National Book Award Finalist in 2009.

Photo credit: Elena Seibert

Scott SpencerScott Spencer is the author of ten novels, including Man in the Woods, A Ship Made of Paper, Waking the Dead, and the international bestseller Endless Love. He has written for Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ, and Harper's, and has taught writing at Columbia University, the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Williams College, and the Bard Prison Initiative. He lives in Rhinebeck, New York.

Photo credit: Wendy Ewald.

Kate WalbertKate Walbert is the author of the novels A Short History of Women, named one of The New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of 2009, Our Kind, a Finalist for the National Book Award in 2004, and The Gardens of Kyoto, winner of the Connecticut Book Award for best fiction in 2002, as well as the New York Times Notable story collection, Where She Went. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize Stories, and numerous other publications. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and taught fiction writing at Yale for many years. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughters.

Photo credit: Deborah Donenfeld