Presenter of the National Book Awards

The National Book Foundation’s
“5 Under 35” Fiction, 2012

Images from the 2012 5 Under 35 Celebration

5 Under 35 Logo

On the evening of Monday, November 12 at powerHouse Arena in DUMBO, Brooklyn, the National Book Foundation kicked off National Book Awards Week with a party to celebrate this year’s 5 Under 35 authors. Host for the evening was musician Neko Case, with poet and photographer Thomas Sayers Ellis as DJ. Author Anya Ulinich, a 2007 5 Under 35 Honoree, moderated a conversation between the young writers. Musician and author Alina Simone interviewed all of the authors at the event, clips can be found below.

The 5 Under 35 program, now in its seventh year, honors five young fiction writers selected by past National Book Award Winners and Finalists. For the first time, thanks to the generous support of, the Foundation will offer the 5 Under 35 writers a cash award of one thousand dollars each.

The 2012 5 Under 35 Honorees Are:

2012 5 Under 35 Honoree Books


Jennifer duBois, A Partial History of Lost Causes (The Dial Press, 2012)
Selected by Andrew Krivak, Fiction Finalist for The Sojourn, 2011

Stuart Nadler, The Book of Life (Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books, 2011)
Selected by Edith Pearlman, Fiction Finalist for Binocular Vision, 2011

Haley Tanner
, Vaclav & Lena (The Dial Press, 2012)
Selected by Téa Obreht, Fiction Finalist for The Tiger’s Wife, 2011, and 5 Under 35 Honoree, 2010


Justin Torres
, We the Animals (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011)
Selected by Jessica Hagedorn, Fiction Finalist for Dogeaters, 1990

Claire Vaye Watkins
, Battleborn (Riverhead, 2012)
Selected by Julie Otsuka, Fiction Finalist for The Buddha in the Attic, 2011


Guest DJ, Thomas Sayers Ellis


Host Neko Case welcomes the audience:

Panel Discussion (Part 1 of 2)

Panel Discussion (Part 2 of 2)

Conversation with Anya Ulinich

About the Honorees

Jennifer duBoisJennifer duBois was born in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1983. She earned a BA in political science and philosophy from Tufts University and an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. She recently completed her Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, where she now teaches. Jennifer's short fiction has appeared in Playboy, The Missouri Review, The Kenyon Review, The Northwest Review, The South Carolina Review, and The Florida Review. A Partial History of Lost Causes is her first novel.
Photo credit: Ilana Panich-Linsman
> Twitter: @jennifer_dubois
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Stuart Nadler
Stuart Nadler is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded a Truman Capote Fellowship and a Teaching-Writing Fellowship. Recently, he was the Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. His fiction has appeared in The Atlantic. His novel, Wise Men, will be published by Reagan Arthur Books in February 2013, the follow-up to his short story collection, The Book of Life.
Photo credit: Nina Subin
> Twitter: @stuartnadler
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Haley TannerHaley Tanner received her MFA in creative writing from The New School, where her novel Vaclav & Lena began as a short story. The publishing rights for her debut novel have been sold in thirteen countries, and film rights were optioned by the Mazur/Kaplan Company. She lives in Brooklyn.
Photo credit: Gavin Snow
> Twitter: @haleytanner
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Justin TorresJustin Torres was raised in upstate New York, where his novel, We the Animals, is set. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, Tin House, and Glimmer Train. He was awarded the Truman Capote Fellowship to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, a United States Artist Rolón Fellowship in Literature, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford, and is currently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.
Photo credit: Gregory Crowley
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Claire Vaye WatkinsClaire Vaye Watkins was born in Death Valley and raised in the Mojave Desert. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, One Story, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Best of the West 2011, and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, Claire earned her MFA from Ohio State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow. She teaches creative writing at Bucknell University and the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference, and is the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of The Mojave School, a nonprofit creative writing camp for rural Nevadans. Battleborn is her first book.
Photo credit: Lily Glass
> Twitter: @clairevaye

About the National Book Award Authors

Jessica HagedornJessica Hagedorn is the author of Toxicology, Dream Jungle, The Gangster of Love, and Dogeaters, which won the American Book Award and was a Finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction in 1990. She is also the author of Danger and Beauty, a collection of poetry and prose, and the editor of Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction. Her plays include Most Wanted, The Heaven Trilogy, and the stage adaptation of Dogeaters. Hagedorn is presently editing Manila Noir for Akashic Books’ acclaimed Noir Series. She teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at LIU Brooklyn.
Photo credit: Miriam Berkley

Andrew Krivak

Andrew Krivak's novel The Sojourn was a 2011 National Book Award Fiction Finalist, and was awarded the inaugural Chautauqua Literary Prize in 2012. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and three children, and teaches in the Arts and Sciences Honors Program at Boston College. Photo credit: Marzena Pogorzaly

Tea ObrehtTéa Obreht was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia in 1985 and has lived in the United States since the age of twelve. Her debut novel, The Tiger’s Wife, won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a 2011 National Book Award Finalist. Her writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Vogue, Esquire, and The Guardian, and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She has been named by The New Yorker as one of the twenty best American fiction writers under forty, and was one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 writers in 2010. Obreht lives in New York.
Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

Julie OtsukaJulie Otsuka is the author of two novels, The Buddha in the Attic, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award and was a Finalist for the 2011 National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and When the Emperor Was Divine, which won the Asian American Literary Award and the American Library Association Alex Award. Her fiction has been published in Granta, Harper’s, Best American Short Stories 2012, and Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012. A recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and an Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in New York City, where she writes every afternoon in her neighborhood café.
Photo credit: Robert Bessoir

Edith PearlmanEdith Pearlman is the recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the art of short fiction. Her most recent collection, Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories, won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, the Julia Ward Howe Prize, and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and was named a Finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The Story Prize. She has published more than 250 works in national magazines and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, New Stories from the South, and The Pushcart Prize, and three previous story collections: Vaquita, winner of the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature, Love Among the Greats, winner of the Spokane Fiction Award, and How to Fall, winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Photo credit: Jonathan Sachs

The 5 Under 35 Celebration’s Host

Neko CaseNeko Case is a Grammy nominated solo artist and one-eighth of the celebrated Canadian pop outfit the New Pornographers. The Washington-bred singer, songwriter and producer claims no genre, nor utilizes any classic formula for her songs and singing. More than anything she thrives in the spaces in between the notes and has developed a sound all her own. Her five full-length solo albums (not to mention her two live collections and Canadian Amp EP) have won her critical acclaim and countless devotees. When she’s not carpooling with her band members on tour, Neko can usually be found lying around with her menagerie (dogs, cats, horse), working in her organic garden or quilting.
Photo credit: Jason Creps


Featured DJ

Thomas Sayers EllisThomas Sayers Ellis was born and raised in Washington, DC. The Maverick Room was awarded the John C. Zacharis First Book Award. Ellis teaches in the Lesley University low-residency MFA program, and he is a faculty member of Cave Canem. A photographer and poet, he currently divides his time between Brooklyn, New York, and Washington, DC. His most recent collection, Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems, was published by Graywolf Press, and he recently accepted the position of Poetry Editor at The Baffler.
Photo credit: by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

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Conversation Moderator

Anya UlinichAnya Ulinich grew up in Moscow, Russia, and immigrated to Arizona when she was seventeen. She holds an MFA in visual arts from the University of California, Davis. Her first novel, Petropolis, was published by Penguin in 2007. It was translated into ten languages, named Best Book of the Year by The Christian Science Monitor and The Village Voice, and selected as one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 writers by Ken Kalfus. Ulinich's short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, and Zoetrope: All-Story. She lives in Brooklyn with her two daughters, and is working on a graphic novel.
Photo credit: Lisa Sciascia
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Video Interviewer

Alina SimoneAlina Simone is a singer and author who was born in Kharkov, Ukraine, and now lives in Brooklyn. Her music has earned critical acclaim from a wide range of media, including the BBC’s The World, NPR, Spin, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The Wall Street Journal. She is the author of the essay collection You Must Go and Win (Faber, 2011) and the forthcoming novel Note to Self (Faber, 2013). Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and online at McSweeneys, The Wall Street Journal, and BOMBlog.
Photo credit: Matthew Spencer
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