The National Book Foundation Announces its 2024 5 Under 35 Honorees

The National Book Foundation announced its annual 5 Under 35 honorees, a selection of five fiction writers under the age of 35 whose debut work promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape. Each honoree was selected by a literary luminary previously honored by the National Book Foundation. Honorees are writers from around the world, under the age of 35, who have published their first and only book of fiction—either a short story collection or a novel—within the last five years. The National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 program is sponsored by the Amazon Literary Partnership, and each honoree receives a $1,000 prize.

“Since its inception in 2006, the 5 Under 35 program has elevated the voices of some of the brightest and most inventive new fiction writers whose work we continue to read, follow, and celebrate,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “We are delighted to introduce the 2024 honorees to readers across the country and to the National Book Foundation family.”

The 2024 5 Under 35 honorees have been honored by the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. Their work has been supported by the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Kundiman, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Writer’s Institute, and Tin House, among others. Honorees’ writing has appeared in The Believer, Catapult, The Cut, Huffpost, n+1, The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and elsewhere.

Throughout their dazzling debut novels, these five authors consider the precarity of identity, belonging, and survival—from the 19th-century American West to present-day New York. Set during the rising Occupy Wall Street movement, Antonia Angress’s Sirens & Muses first follows a trio of students as they navigate class, ambition, and queer desire at a prestigious art school. After a dangerous prank, the artists are thrust alongside their former professor into New York City’s ruthless art scene and forced to grapple with what it means to make authentic art amongst capitalism. In Hangman by Maya Binyam an unnamed narrator returns to his homeland in sub-Saharan Africa, his ticket purchased and bags packed for him. After nearly three decades in the United States, he sets off on a dizzying journey to find his dying brother in Binyam’s reflection on immigration, refuge, and returning to an unrecognizable—or unreachable—home. Brother Alive chronicles the lives of three unrelated boys—Youssef, Iseul, and Dayo—who are adopted by an imam as infants and raised above a mosque in Staten Island. The boys are inseparable, but don’t know Youssef’s biggest secret: he has an imaginary, shape-shifting friend he calls Brother. Zain Khalid’s novel takes the brothers from childhood to adulthood and from New York City to Saudi Arabia, questioning the very nature of belief. In Tyriek White’s We Are a Haunting, readers follow three generations of a Black working-class family in Brooklyn—from the 1980s to present day—that have all been gifted with the ability to communicate with the dead. In the years after his mother’s passing, Colly comes to terms with his inheritance and eventually returns home to find out what it means to build a collective path forward. Jenny Tinghui Zhang’s epic coming-of-age tale Four Treasures of the Sky follows Daiyu, a young girl who is kidnapped in China and smuggled to the United States in the late 19th century. In the face of rising anti-Chinese sentiment and overwhelming personal tragedy, the narrator must continuously reinvent and reclaim herself to survive.

The 2024 5 Under 35 selectors are 2000 National Book Award Finalist Charles Baxter, 2015 National Book Award Winner Adam Johnson, 2019 National Book Award Finalist Laila Lalami, 2022 National Book Award Finalist Alejandro Varela, and 2010 5 Under 35 Honoree Tiphanie Yanique. Their decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors.

“The 2024 5 Under 35 honorees are debut authors of extraordinary promise, and we are immensely grateful to our selectors for shining a light on these brilliant literary talents,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “We look forward to celebrating these new and necessary voices in fiction at the very start of their careers, and to champion, together, the many stories to come.”

The honorees will be celebrated at the 5 Under 35 Ceremony, hosted by Emmy and WGA award–nominated comedian and writer Karen Chee, on Thursday, May 9, 2024.

Previous honorees include Lesley Nneka Arimah, Caleb Azumah Nelson, K-Ming Chang, Anelise Chen, Naima Coster, Danielle Evans, Yaa Gyasi, Isabella Hammad, Lydia Kiesling, Raven Leilani, Johannes Lichtman, Valeria Luiselli, Fatima Farheen Mirza, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Karen Russell, Claire Vaye Watkins, Bryan Washington, Ashley Wurzbacher, Tiphanie Yanique, and C Pam Zhang, as well as National Book Award Longlisters Molly Antopol and Brit Bennett, National Book Award Finalists Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Akwaeke Emezi, Angela Flournoy, and Téa Obreht, 2014 National Book Award Winner Phil Klay, 2020 National Book Award Winner Charles Yu, and 2023 National Book Award Winner Justin Torres.

The 2024 5 Under 35 honorees are:

Antonia Angress, Sirens & Muses
Ballantine Books / Penguin Random House
Selected by Charles Baxter, 2000 National Book Award Finalist

Maya BinyamHangman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers
Selected by Alejandro Varela, 2022 National Book Award Finalist

Zain Khalid, Brother Alive
Grove Press / Grove Atlantic
Selected by Laila Lalami, 2019 National Book Award Finalist

Tyriek White, We Are a Haunting
Astra House / Astra Publishing House
Selected by Tiphanie Yanique, 2010 5 Under 35 Honoree

Jenny Tinghui Zhang, Four Treasures of the Sky
Flatiron Books / Macmillan Publishers
Selected by Adam Johnson, 2015 National Book Award Winner

National Book Foundation Announces Update to the National Book Awards Eligibility Criteria

The National Book Foundation (NBF) announced an expansion of the eligibility criteria for the National Book Awards for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature. In addition to authors who hold US citizenship, authors who maintain their primary, long-term home in the United States, US territories, or Tribal lands will now be eligible for consideration. The updated criteria will go into effect on March 13, when submissions open for the 75th National Book Awards.

“The Foundation is eager to take this key step towards ensuring that the National Book Awards are welcoming to all writers living and working in the United States,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “As we reflect on the rich 75-year history of the National Book Awards and look to the future, we believe that the National Book Awards must celebrate the widest possible array of voices and stories published in the United States in order to continue bringing essential works to readers and communities across the country.”

The new criteria announced today will sunset the petition process for non-US citizens instituted in 2018, which expanded eligibility in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature to include authors actively pursuing, or unable to pursue, US citizenship. The National Book Award for Translated Literature, first introduced in 2018, has never had a citizenship requirement for author or translator. While the petition process marked a necessary and important step away from the long-standing citizenship requirement, the Foundation recognizes the importance of removing procedural hurdles for non-US citizens.

“The fundamental mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best literature published in the United States, and to ensure that books remain at the forefront of our vibrant culture,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “We believe in the value of all stories, and it is our hope that by further opening our existing submissions process, the National Book Awards will be more reflective of the US literary landscape and better able to recognize the immense literary contributions of authors that consider the United States their home.”

The updated eligibility criteria read as follows:

To be eligible for the National Book Awards, books must be published by US publishers located in the United States. The publication date must be within the eligibility period of December 1, 2023 and November 30, 2024.

For the Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature Awards, authors must either hold US citizenship or maintain their primary, long-term home in the United States, US territories, or Tribal lands, regardless of immigration status, at the commencement of the eligibility period for the current Awards cycle. For the Translated Literature Award, there are no citizenship or residency requirements for either author or translator.

Submissions for the 2024 National Book Awards will open on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. The judges for the 2024 National Book Awards, also to be announced on March 13, will select 50 Longlist titles, 10 per category, which will be announced mid-September, and 25 Finalists, to be announced on Tuesday, October 1, 2024. Winners in all five categories will be announced at the 75th National Book Awards on Wednesday, November 20, 2024. The complete list of deadlines and guidelines can be found at the Foundation’s website.

(Photo credit: Nathalie Schueller)

National Book Foundation Announces a New Funding Opportunity for Literary Arts Nonprofits

The National Book Foundation (NBF) announced a new one-year funding opportunity for nonprofit literary arts organizations. Eligible organizations may apply to the National Book Foundation Capacity-Building Grant Program for one-year grants of $5,000 or $10,000 to support capacity-building initiatives. A grant from the Hawthornden Foundation, originally founded in 1983 by the late Drue Heinz, makes this program possible.

“United States-based literary arts nonprofits serve hundreds of thousands of readers and writers annually, yet funding opportunities to support these organizations are extremely limited,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “The National Book Foundation is grateful for the support of the Hawthornden Foundation, as we work to uplift and sustain our peer organizations so that books and reading remain an integral part of our shared culture.”

Through the National Book Foundation Capacity-Building Grant Program, nonprofit literary arts organizations may apply for grants to support projects that aim to create a sustainable and effective organization in the areas of fundraising, finance, or marketing; skill-building opportunities for staff and/or Board members; strategic planning consultants; diversity and equity initiatives; leadership development and management training; sabbaticals for long-term staff members and leaders; and succession planning.

“We are delighted to partner with the National Book Foundation in support of the literary arts community,” said Hawthornden Foundation Executive Director Ellyn Toscano. “We believe the National Book Foundation capacity-building grants will help to strengthen the field and bolster a thriving writing community.”

Grants will be recommended by an independent panel and approved by a committee of the NBF Board of Directors.

Applications will be accepted from Tuesday, April 2, through Friday, May 10, at 5pm ET. More information, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, will be available when the application opens in April.

To learn about a similar grant opportunity offered by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) for independent nonprofit literary arts publishers, visit their website at clmp.org.

Hawthornden Foundation logo
The Capacity-Building Grant Program is made possible by the Hawthornden Foundation.

National Book Foundation Announces 2024 Spring Season of NBF Presents

Twenty-one authors honored by the National Book Foundation to appear at 14 events between February and May 2024

The National Book Foundation announced its spring NBF Presents line-up of 14 events taking place in 12 cities from February through May 2024. NBF Presents, the moniker for all of the Foundation’s public programs, represents the Foundation’s commitment to connecting existing and emerging readers across the United States, in-person and virtually, with timely events featuring National Book Foundation–honored authors. NBF Presents is made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). This spring season includes public events to celebrate 5 Under 35, which is supported by Amazon Literary Partnership; and Science + Literature, which is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Programming for the spring season will be held in-person, with select events streamed online at no cost to attendees.

Authors confirmed to appear at NBF Presents events in the spring have been honored by the National Book Foundation through the National Book Awards, 5 Under 35, and Science + Literature. They include: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, M. T. Anderson, Mateo Askaripour, Aaliyah Bilal, Susan Choi, Jonathan Eig, Brad Fox, Paul Harding, Vashti Harrison, Chelsea T. Hicks, Malinda Lo, Sarah Thankam Mathews, José Olivarez, Hanna Pylvaïnen, Brandon Som, Arthur Sze, Justin Torres, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, John Vaillant, Jenny Xie, Ada Zhang, and more to be announced. Recognized moderators are educators, writers, and past National Book Foundation committee members and judges, including Ricardo Nuila, January Gill O’Neil, Brian Teare, and Amelia Worsley, with more to be announced.

The Foundation’s national public programs are co-presented with book festivals, cultural centers, two- and four-year colleges, and public libraries. The spring season includes events curated alongside returning partners in Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Texas, and Virginia, as well as new partners in Puerto Rico, Vermont, and Wyoming. The Foundation is collaborating with Humanidades Puerto Rico and the Universidad de Puerto Rico en Cayey on the National Book Foundation’s first-ever in-person programming in the archipelagos.

“We’re excited and honored to collaborate on programming with the National Book Foundation this spring as part of our expanded literary offerings through Puerto Rico’s Center for the Book and the new initiatives led by its new director, Natalia Olivero Huffman,” said Sonya Canetti Mirabal, Executive Director of Humanidades Puerto Rico. “The National Book Foundation is a like-minded partner, focused on celebrating books, connecting authors and readers, and creating space for timely conservations. We look forward to honoring the richness of Puerto Rican literature, together.”

This spring, the National Book Foundation will celebrate two of its literary prizes with special co-presented events—both open to the public—in New York: the 2024 Science + Literature Ceremony at The Cooper Union on Wednesday, March 27, and the 2024 5 Under 35 Ceremony at the Brooklyn Museum on Thursday, May 9. The 2024 Science + Literature selected titles were announced last week in an exclusive with the Associated Press, and the Ceremony will feature honored authors Brad Fox, Arthur Sze, and Novuyo Rosa Tshuma for readings and conversation, hosted by writer Emily Raboteau, on their selected works; register here. The 2024 5 Under 35 honorees will be announced in March, and tickets are now available to purchase at the Brooklyn Museum’s website.

“As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the National Book Awards, we remain committed to providing readers with opportunities for thoughtful, engaging conversations around books—from exceptional debuts to career-spanning selected works,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “This spring season, we look forward to collaborating with our inspiring programming partners to ensure that writers and readers alike—in rural, suburban, and urban communities—are able to immerse themselves in, and build upon, the country’s vibrant book culture.”

The full list of confirmed spring NBF Presents events can be found below with additional details and registration information coming soon, and an updated NBF Presents calendar is available at the Foundation’s website. Events are free unless otherwise noted but tickets are limited, so please RSVP directly at the Foundation or partner website as directed.

NBF Presents Spring Schedule

Thursday, February 8, 12:10pm CST
In-Person & Livestreamed | Kansas City, MO
Association of Writers & Writing Programs
NBF Presents: Crafting Coming-of-Age 

Join 2019 National Book Award Winner Susan Choi (Trust Exercise) and 2022 National Book Award Finalist Sarah Thankam Mathews (All This Could Be Different) for a conversation on the impact of contemporary bildungsroman and what it means to grow up in adult fiction. Choi and Mathews read from their novels and discuss how and why coming-of-age stories capture writers and readers alike. Moderated by Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. Presented in partnership with the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.

Thursday, February 15, 8:00pm EST
In-Person | Miami, FL
Books & Books and Miami Book Fair
Miami Book Fair & NBF Presents: An Evening with the 2023 5 Under 35 Honorees

Each year, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 program recognizes five exceptional debut fiction authors, selected by past National Book Award and 5 Under 35 honorees. Join us for readings and conversation with 2023 5 Under 35 honorees: Mateo Askaripour (Black Buck), Chelsea T. Hicks (A Calm & Normal Heart), Jenny Xie (Holding Pattern), and Ada Zhang (The Sorrows of Others). Moderated by Natalie Green, Director of Programs & Partnerships at the National Book Foundation. Presented in partnership with Books & Books and the Miami Book Fair. Register here.

Friday, February 23, 5:00pm EST
In-Person | Amherst, MA
Amherst College
LitFest and NBF Presents: Fiction of the Past, Present, and Future

2023 National Book Award Fiction Finalist Paul Harding (This Other Eden) and Winner Justin Torres (Blackouts) share readings from their honored works, and discuss the gravitational pull of fictionalizing the past and imagining new futures, both within and outside of literature. Moderated by Amelia Worsley, Assistant Professor of English at Amherst College. This program is part of the 9th Annual LitFest, supported by Amherst College and The Common magazine, and presented in partnership with the Jones Library.

Sunday, March 10, 11:30am MST
In-Person | Tucson, AZ
Tucson Festival of Books
NBF Presents: Art Is in the Details

The National Book Foundation returns to the Tucson Festival of Books for programming featuring 2023 National Book Award–honored authors across genres. Finalists Aaliyah Bilal (Temple Folk, Fiction), Vashti Harrison (Big, Young People’s Literature), and Hanna Pylvaïnen (The End of Drum-Time, Fiction) discuss the specificity required to write universal stories for readers of all ages, and the power of exceptional storytelling to make the unfamiliar feel known. Moderated by Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, and presented in partnership with the Tucson Festival of Books.

Sunday, March 10, 2:30pm MST
In-Person | Tucson, AZ
Tucson Festival of Books
NBF Presents: Which Comes First—Writer or Subject?

Join 2023 National Book Award–honored authors Jonathan Eig (King: A Life, Nonfiction), Brandon Som (Tripas, Poetry), and John Vaillant (Fire Weather: A True Story From a Hotter World, Nonfiction) for a conversation about narrative voice—from biography to journalism to poetry—and how to tell the truth in a way that resonates with readers, regardless of form or genre. Moderated by Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, and presented in partnership with the Tucson Festival of Books.

Wednesday, March 27, 6:30pm EDT
In-Person & Livestreamed | New York, NY
The Cooper Union
2024 Science + Literature Ceremony

Join the National Book Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and The Cooper Union for the 2024 Science + Literature Ceremony—celebrating the three remarkable 2024 Science + Literature selected titles in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry: The Bathysphere Book: Effects of the Luminous Ocean Depths, The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems, and Digging Stars. The program is free and open to the public, and will feature readings and conversation with authors Brad Fox, Arthur Sze, and Novuyo Rosa Tshuma. Hosted by Emily Raboteau, author of Lessons for Survival. Register here.

Wednesday, April 3, 11:15am CDT
In-Person | Clarksdale, MS
Coahoma Community College
NBF Presents: Imagining New Worlds

2023 National Book Award–honored authors Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Chain-Gang All-Stars, Fiction) and José Olivarez (Promises of Gold, Poetry) share readings and discuss their processes to build new worlds through writing—whether real, fantastical, or somewhere in between. Moderated by January Gill O’Neil, author of, most recently, Glitter Road. Presented in partnership with Coahoma Community College and the Coahoma County Higher Education Center. Register here.

Thursday, April 4, 11:30am CDT
In-Person | Oxford, MS
Oxford Conference for the Book
NBF Presents: Myth Making and Breaking

Join 2023 National Book Award–honored authors Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Chain-Gang All-Stars) and José Olivarez (Promises of Gold) for readings and conversation about how to tackle the myth of the American dream through writing across genres. Moderated by Melissa Ginsburg, Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Mississippi. Presented in partnership with the 30th Oxford Conference for the Book. Register here.

Tuesday, April 9, 7:00pm EDT
In-person & Livestreamed | Burlington, VT
Vermont Humanities & South Burlington Public Library & Brownell Library
Vermont Reads & NBF Presents: Stories From the 1950s to Now

To celebrate the Vermont Reads 2023 selection Last Night at the Telegraph Club, join National Book Award Winner Malinda Lo as she discusses writing about queer life in the 1950s, and shares how young adult fiction can speak to readers at any age. Moderated by M. T. Anderson, author of Feed, a National Book Award Finalist. Presented in partnership with Vermont Humanities, the South Burlington Public Library, and the Brownell Library.

Tuesday, April 9, 7:30pm CDT
In-person | Houston, TX
Baylor College of Medicine’s Humanities Expression and Arts Lab, Hermann Park Conservancy & Inprint
Science + Literature: Written in the Stars

In the National Book Foundation’s 2024 Science + Literature selected title Digging Stars, author Novuyo Rosa Tshuma tells the story of Rosa, a protagonist preoccupied both with space, and with what it means to be human. Join Tshuma in conversation with author and 2024 Science + Literature committee chair Ricardo Nuila (The People’s Hospital: Hope and Peril in American Medicine) on writing fiction through a scientific lens. Presented in partnership with Baylor College of Medicine’s Humanities Expression and Arts Lab, Hermann Park Conservancy’s Garden and Nature Series, and Inprint.

Friday, April 19
In-person & Livestreamed | Cayey, PR
Centro para el libro Humanidades Puerto Rico & Universidad de Puerto Rico en Cayey
Humanidades PR and NBF Presents: Puerto Rican Literature Within the Island and Its Diaspora / Literatura Puertorriqueña de la Isla y su diáspora

Join National Book Award–honored authors, and independent editors from the archipelago and its diaspora for readings and conversation about Puerto Rican literature from/in the diverse places where the Boricua experience and imagination unfolds. Presented in partnership with Center for the book Humanities Puerto Rico, University of Puerto Rico in Cayey, and the National Book Foundation. More event details coming soon. / Únase a autores reconocidos por los National Book Awards y editores independientes del archipiélago y sus diásporas para lecturas y diálogo sobre la literatura puertorriqueña de/en los lugares diversos donde se manifiesta la experiencia e imaginación boricuas. Presentado en colaboración con Centro para el libro Humanidades Puerto Rico, la Universidad de Puerto Rico en Cayey y la National Book Foundation. Próximamente, se ofrecerán más detalles del evento.

Thursday, April 25, 7:00pm EDT
In-person | Roanoke, VA
Roanoke Public Libraries & Virginia Center for the Book & The Grandin Theatre
Science + Literature: Nature’s Poetry and Peril

The Glass Constellations: New and Collected Poems by Arthur Sze, a 2024 Science + Literature selected title, features poems across ten poetry collections and five decades of work, varied in form but aligned in their interest with the natural world. Sze joins Brian Teare, author and 2024 Science + Literature committee member, in conversation on environmental poetry, and what we can read, write, and think through to save our endangered planet. Presented in partnership with the Roanoke Public Libraries, Virginia Center for the Book, and the Grandin Theatre. Register here.

Wednesday, May 1, 7:00pm MDT

In-person | Lander, WY
Bookmarked Literary Arts Festival
Science + Literature: A Research Voyage

The National Book Foundation’s 2024 Science + Literature selected title The Bathysphere Book: Effects of the Luminous Depth plunges readers into the deep sea while simultaneously questioning life on land. Join author and journalist Brad Fox in conversation on why the scientific explorations and discoveries of 1930 feel so timely today, and how to make research come to life in narrative nonfiction. Moderated by Michael Mejia, author and professor of creative writing at the University of Utah. Presented in partnership with Bookmarked Literary Arts Festival. Register here.

Thursday, May 9, 7:30pm EDT
In-person & Livestreamed | Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn Reads: National Book Foundation Celebrates 5 Under 35

Join the Brooklyn Museum and National Book Foundation in celebrating five debut fiction authors whose work promises to leave a lasting impression. The 2024 5 Under 35 honorees will be se introduced on stage by their selectors—five literary luminaries previously honored by the National Book Awards or 5 Under 35. The 2024 5 Under 35 honorees will be announced in March. The National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 program is supported by Amazon Literary Partnership. More information on the 5 Under 35 program can be found here, and tickets are available at the Brooklyn Museum’s website here.

For times and locations for events, please visit www.nationalbook.org or the websites of any of our partners.

National Book Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Announce the 2024 Science + Literature Selected Titles

The National Book Foundation (NBF) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced selected titles for the third year of the Science + Literature program. The initiative identifies three books annually, across genres, that deepen readers’ understanding of science and technology, and focuses on highlighting the diversity of voices in contemporary science and technology writing. Authors receive a $10,000 cash prize, are celebrated at a public ceremony in March, and will be featured in associated national public programming. The titles are selected by a committee of five scientific and literary experts, also announced today. Science + Literature is made possible by a three-year, $525,000 grant from the Sloan Foundation.

The three selected titles include narrative nonfiction, a decades-spanning poetry collection, and a cosmos-inspired novel. Brad Fox’s The Bathysphere Book: Effects of the Luminous Ocean Depths recounts the history of the first deep-sea exploration alongside full-color images and original logbooks. Fox paints a detailed portrait of scientists, and the lasting effects of discovering the unknown. The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems by National Book Award Winner Arthur Sze covers five decades of Sze’s poetry, blending Chinese, Japanese, Native American, and Western traditions. Sze’s sweeping body of work considers the beauty of the natural world, the intricacies of time and space, and invites readers to reimagine our legacy on this endangered planet. In Digging Stars, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma explores the complexities of identity and scientific ethics—in the US and globally—through the coming-of-age story of a Zimbabwe-born astronomer following in her father’s footsteps.

“Since 2022, Science + Literature has highlighted exceptional, diverse, and accessible scientific writing, ultimately aimed at creating a greater understanding of how science and technology intersect with the world around us,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “This year’s deeply researched and inventive selections by Brad Fox, Arthur Sze, and Novuyo Rosa Tshuma exemplify why science and technology are so important to the arts, and to our daily lives. We’re so grateful to the 2024 Science + Literature Committee for elevating these works, and to the Sloan Foundation for their tireless support of books, authors, and community.”

“We are delighted to join the National Book Foundation in recognizing these three powerful and unique writers engaging with scientific themes and characters across poetry, fiction, and nonfiction,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Science seeks to uncover universal truths about nature, but every human being’s experience is different and these gifted storytellers shine a light on the complex inner lives of their characters as they explore the mysteries of the external world, from the ocean to the cosmos, from Japan to Zimbabwe. We’re proud to add these outstanding authors to Sloan’s nationwide book program, which has supported over 200 books from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winner American Prometheus, the basis of Christopher Nolan’s hit film Oppenheimer, and Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures to this year’s The Quickening by Elizabeth Rush and How Infrastructure Works by Deb Chachra.”

An in-person ceremony will be held on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, returning to The Cooper Union’s Rose Auditorium for readings and conversation with the selected authors; the event will be livestreamed for readers eveywhere. The program is free and open to the public, and is presented in partnership with The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a distinguished private college of art, architecture and engineering founded in 1859 by inventor, industrialist, and philanthropist Peter Cooper. Register for the ceremony here.

“The Cooper Union is thrilled to co-present the National Book Foundation’s Science + Literature Ceremony for the second year running,” said Demetrius L. Eudell, Vice President of Academic Affairs at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. “Science + Literature aligns with our goal to foster dialogue at the intersection of the humanities and sciences, and to introduce our community to timely and engaging books and speakers.”

The 2024 selection committee includes authors and scientists whose work across fields explores—and facilitates public understanding of—the innumerable connections between science, technology, and the humanities. Shane Campbell-Staton is an evolutionary biologist, science communicator, and host of Human Footprint and Evolution Earth on PBS; Priyamvada Natarajan is an astrophysicist and author of Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas that Reveal the Cosmos; Ricardo Nuila (Chair) is the author of The People’s Hospital: Hope and Peril in American Medicine and director of the Humanities Expression and Arts Lab (HEAL) at Baylor College of Medicine; Brian Teare is the author of Doomstead Days, which was Longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry, and is a publisher, editor, and designer at the poetry micropress Albion Books; and Christina Vizcarra is a researcher and Assistant Professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Barnard College in New York.

Public events featuring the selected authors will take place in cities across the country in Spring 2024 following the March ceremony, including with partners in Houston, TX at the Baylor College of Medicine’s Humanities Expression and Arts Lab—the hub for arts and humanities education at Baylor College of Medicine, Inprint, a literary arts nonprofit that fosters the art of creative writing, and the Hermann Park Conservancy’s Garden and Nature Series; Bookmarked Literary Arts Festival, an annual book festival that connects local and national writers with local readers in Lander, WY; Roanoke Public Libraries, which aims to create a climate of lifelong learning and community enrichment in Roanoke, VA, and the Virginia Festival of the Book, which brings together writers and readers to promote and celebrate books, reading, literacy, and literary culture. Event details will be announced alongside the NBF Presents spring season on Wednesday, January 31, 2024.

Learn more about the Science + Literature program here.

Science + Literature Selected Titles:

Brad Fox, The Bathysphere Book: Effects of the Luminous Ocean Depths
Astra House / Astra Publishing House

Arthur Sze, The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems
Copper Canyon Press 

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Digging Stars
W. W. Norton & Company

Author Biographies:

Brad Fox is a writer, journalist, translator, and former relief contractor living in New York. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review Daily, Guernica, and other venues. His novel To Remain Nameless was a finalist for the Big Other Book Award for Fiction and a staff pick at The Paris Review.

Arthur Sze has published 11 books of poetry, including The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems and Sight Lines, which won the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry. A new collection, The Silk Dragon II: Translations of Chinese Poetry, is forthcoming. Sze is the recipient of many honors, including a 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a 2021 Shelley Memorial Award, and the Jackson Poetry Prize. He is Professor Emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma’s latest novel is Digging Stars. Her first novel, House of Stone, won the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award and the Bulawayo Arts Award for Outstanding Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the Balcones Fiction Prize, and was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize. A recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship, Tshuma has taught graduate fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and currently teaches at Emerson College.

Committee Biographies:

Shane Campbell-Staton is an evolutionary biologist and assistant professor at Princeton University. His research combines a wide array of techniques to explore how human activity drives evolution in species across the globe, from urban adaptation of Caribbean lizards to the evolution of tuskless elephants in response to poaching. In addition to his research, Shane is a passionate science communicator. Most recently, he is the host and narrator of two television series, Human Footprint and Evolution Earth, airing on PBS.

Priyamvada Natarajan is an astrophysicist, and the inaugural Joseph S. and Sophia S. Fruton Professor in Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. She has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the nature of dark matter using gravitational lensing studies; and the assembly history of supermassive black holes over cosmic time. The recipient of many awards and honors, including fellowships from the American Physical Society (APS), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Guggenheim Foundation, and Radcliffe Institute; she was recognized with the Liberty Science Center’s Genius Award. She is the author of Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas that Reveal the Cosmos.

Ricardo Nuila (Chair) is a writer and practicing doctor at Houston’s largest public hospital. His work has been featured in The New YorkerTexas MonthlyThe New England Journal of Medicine, and Best American Short Stories. His first book, The People’s Hospital: Hope and Peril in American Medicine was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air. In its review, the New York Times notes that Ricardo is a “skillful writer who humanizes his points in meticulous and compassionate detail.” He is the Director of the Humanities Expression and Arts Lab (HEAL) at Baylor College of Medicine.

A 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, Brian Teare is the author of seven critically acclaimed books, including Doomstead Days, winner of the Four Quartets Prize, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Longlisted for the National Book Award for Poetry. His most recent publications are a pair of book-length ekphrastic projects exploring queer abstraction, chronic illness, and collage: the reissue of The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven, and Poem Bitten by a Man. An Associate Professor of Poetry at the University of Virginia, Brian lives in Charlottesville, where he makes books by hand for his micropress, Albion Books. 

Christina Vizcarra is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Barnard College in New York City, where she teaches chemistry and biochemistry and leads a research group focused on protein biochemistry. The Vizcarra group is particularly interested in the cytoskeleton, the network of protein filaments that is essential to many cellular processes. Prior to Barnard, Dr. Vizcarra received a PhD from California University of Technology and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

 

Freedom Reads, National Book Foundation, Center for Justice Innovation Launch First Major US Book Prize to be Judged Exclusively by Incarcerated People

Inaugural “Inside Literary Prize” will send a selection of National Book Award honorees to hundreds of incarcerated people in a dozen prisons across the country; Inside Literary Prize winner to be announced in June 2024

Freedom Reads, the National Book Foundation, and the Center for Justice Innovation announced the launch of the Inside Literary Prize, the first-ever US-based literary prize awarded exclusively by currently incarcerated people. The prize will be awarded in June 2024 to one exceptional book by a jury of 300 incarcerated individuals from a dozen prisons across the nation. This new initiative, which is also supported by Lori Feathers, literary podcaster and co-owner of Interabang Books, seeks to expand access to our country’s most thought-provoking literature for people who are incarcerated.

Over the coming months, 25 judges at each of 12 prisons across six states—including both men’s and women’s facilities—will be given copies of the four National Book Award-honored books listed below. Freedom Reads will provide each facility with additional sets of each book for general circulation in the facility library, as well as for correctional staff. Throughout the Spring 2024, Inside Literary Prize organizers will travel to each prison to lead live discussions, conduct voting, and host literary readings with acclaimed authors previously honored by the National Book Awards.

“Reading literature and poetry throughout my nearly nine years in prison played an enormous role in shaping the person I am today,” said Freedom Reads Founder & CEO Reginald Dwayne Betts. “Through the reading and judging of leading American literary works, the Inside Literary Prize competition will provide a national platform for incarcerated individuals to meaningfully participate in our shared national cultural conversation. Freedom Reads could not be more proud to work with our partners on this initiative as we turn this vision into an annual reality. Freedom begins with a book.”

“The Inside Literary Prize fosters meaningful dialogue around some of the most exceptional books of our time,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “The National Book Foundation is proud to continue our partnership with Freedom Reads around this new initiative with the Center for Justice Innovation and Lori Feathers, which furthers our commitment to connect readers across the country with National Book Award–honored authors and their work.”

“It is inspiring to partner with correctional facilities around the country to launch this literary prize that honors how engaging with great books can both build community and facilitate a deeper appreciation of our shared human experience,” said Lori Feathers, literary podcaster and co-owner, Interabang Books.

“We are thrilled to support the Inside Literary Prize, which connects currently incarcerated people with some of the nation’s best literature,” said Courtney Bryan, Executive Director of the Center for Justice Innovation. “The Center for Justice Innovation is committed to elevating the voices of those impacted by the legal system and building safe, strong, just communities. The Inside Literary Prize uses the power of books to support the dignity of those who are incarcerated, valuing their insight and celebrating our shared humanity.”

The books to be considered for the inaugural prize were determined by a Selection Committee comprising incarcerated readers, writers, and Departments of Corrections librarians, who chose the following four books from the list of Finalists for the 2022 National Book Awards:

Tess GuntyThe Rabbit Hutch
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House

Jamil Jan KochaiThe Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories
Viking Books / Penguin Random House

Imani PerrySouth to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
Ecco / HarperCollins Publishers

Roger ReevesBest Barbarian
W. W. Norton & Company

A currently incarcerated member of the Selection Committee, Courtney Quillen, shared in a letter that “The experience was a wonderful one. The thrill of exciting new books is one we cherish,” adding, “we are thankful to have been a part of this project.”

Corinne Leone, Director of New York State Correctional Library Services Library Services, also served on the Selection Committee, and summed up her feelings about the experience—“I wish I could read all day, lately.”

Another member of the Selection Committee, a formerly incarcerated writer named Dempsey, shared his thoughts about this initiative: “I like to read books as much as Charles Dickens liked to write them. Books were my salvation in prison. They enabled me to think better about myself and the world. As a free man, my work with Freedom Reads allows me to help those incarcerated find joy, peace, knowledge, and perspective through books. In essence, I view the Freedom Reads agenda as a gift the way literature is a gift. An eternal gift that leads one on an exploration into the highest and lowest levels of the human spirit, of the imagination, and of the heart.”

 

 

Watch the 2023 National Book Awards Finalist Reading

Each year, the Finalists in Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature gather the evening before the National Book Awards Ceremony to read excerpts from their honored works.

The 2023 National Book Awards Finalist Reading will be hosted by Parul Sehgal, staff writer at The New Yorker.

The event will be presented in person at NYU Skirball and livestreamed.
The program will begin at 7:00pm EST.

Presented in partnership with the NYU Creative Writing Program.

To learn more about the 2023 National Book Awards Finalists, click here.

Fiction Finalists:

  • Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Chain-Gang All-Stars
  • Aaliyah Bilal, Temple Folk
  • Paul Harding, This Other Eden
  • Hanna Pylväinen, The End of Drum-Time
  • Justin Torres, Blackouts

Nonfiction Finalists:

  • Ned Blackhawk, The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History
  • Cristina Rivera Garza, Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice
  • Christina Sharpe, Ordinary Notes
  • Raja Shehadeh, We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian Memoir
  • John Vaillant, Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World

Poetry Finalists:

  • John Lee Clark, How to Communicate
  • Craig Santos Perez, from unincorporated territory [åmot]
  • Evie Shockley, suddenly we
  • Brandon Som, Tripas
  • Monica Youn, From From

Translated Literature Finalists:

  • Bora Chung and translator Anton Hur, Cursed Bunny
  • David Diop and translator Sam Taylor, Beyond the Door of No Return
  • Stênio Gardel and translator Bruna Dantas Lobato, The Words That Remain
  • Pilar Quintana and translator Lisa Dillman, Abyss
  • Astrid Roemer and translator Lucy Scott, On a Woman’s Madness

Young People’s Literature Finalists:

  • Kenneth M. Cadow, Gather
  • Huda Fahmy, Huda F Cares?
  • Vashti Harrison, Big
  • Katherine Marsh, The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine
  • Dan Santat, A First Time for Everything

(Finalists will not appear in this order. For select Finalists unable to attend, a literary luminary will read on their behalf.)

author photo of Parul Sehgal. (Photo credit: David Surowiecki)
Parul Sehgal. (Photo credit: David Surowiecki)

ABOUT PARUL SEHGAL

Parul Sehgal is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She was previously a book critic at the New York Times, where she also worked as a senior editor and columnist. She has won awards for her criticism from the New York Press Club, the National Book Critics Circle, and the Robert B. Silvers Foundation. She teaches in the graduate creative writing program at New York University.

 

The 74th National Book Awards Ceremony will be broadcast live on November 15, 2023 at 8:00pm ET. Sign up to watch, receive updates about the upcoming ceremony, and discover this year’s Winners in real-time.

 

Watch the 2023 National Book Awards Teen Press Conference

The National Book Awards Teen Press Conference brings the excitement of the most prestigious literary award in the US to middle and high school students in New York City, and across the country. Held during National Book Awards Week, Teen Press Conference invites school groups to attend a free literary event that is curated just for them.

Tuesday November 14th, 2023
Livestream: 10:30am-11:30am EST

Author photo of Dhonielle Clayton. (Photo credit: Jess Andree)
Dhonielle Clayton. (Photo credit: Jess Andree)

HOSTED BY: 

Dhonielle Clayton is a New York Times bestselling author of The Conjureverse series, The Belles series, Shattered Midnight, co-author of Blackout, Whiteout, The Rumor Game, and of the Tiny Pretty Things duology, a Netflix original series. She hails from the Washington, D.C. suburbs on the Maryland side. She taught secondary school for several years, and is a former elementary and middle school librarian. She is COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books. She is the President and founder of Cake Creative and Electric Postcard Entertainment, IP story companies creating diverse books for all ages. She’s an avid traveller, and always on the hunt for magic and mischief.


 

FEATURING:

Kenneth M. Cadow, Gather
Candlewick Press

Huda Fahmy, Huda F Cares?
Dial Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House

Vashti Harrison, Big
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Hachette Book Group

Katherine Marsh, The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine
Roaring Brook Press / Macmillan Publishers

Dan Santat, A First Time for Everything
First Second / Macmillan Publishers


If you have any questions, please email NBF Education Manager Julianna Lee Marino at jleemarino@nationalbook.org.

Teen Press Conference is supported, in part, by The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


LeVar Burton, Actor and Education Advocate, to Host 74th National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner

The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, today announced LeVar Burton, renowned actor, director, and author, will host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner on November 15, 2023 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

“LeVar Burton has introduced multiple generations of young people to the joys of reading, and is a fearless advocate for book access, especially amidst the alarming rise in book banning across the country,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “We are delighted to welcome LeVar back onto the National Book Awards stage, alongside special guest Oprah Winfrey, to champion the power of literature as the host this year’s Ceremony & Benefit Dinner.”

“I’m a big believer in the power of the written word, and am proud to stand alongside the National Book Foundation to celebrate exceptional storytelling and the Foundation’s mission to make books accessible to everyone, everywhere,” said LeVar Burton. “It’s an honor to return as host of the biggest night for books, especially in a moment when the freedom to read is at risk and literature both needs and deserves our recognition and support.”

Actor, director, producer, writer, and podcaster LeVar Burton is recognized globally for his role as Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge in the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation television and film series; his breakout role as Kunta Kinte in the ABC miniseries Roots; and as the host and executive producer of the PBS children’s television series, Reading Rainbow. Burton continues to inspire new generations of readers with his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads, in which he reads and discusses a work of short fiction in every episode. He is also the award-winning author of Aftermath, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, and A Kids Book About Imagination. In 2019, Burton hosted the 70th National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner. Most recently, Burton served as the Honorary Chair of Banned Books Week 2023, an annual week-long series of events that draws attention to the rising movement of book censorship in the United States and highlights the importance of free and open access to information for readers of all ages. The National Book Foundation is a Banned Books Week coalition member.

“We are honored to have LeVar Burton—a longtime friend and ally of the National Book Foundation—join us to celebrate the power of stories,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “From his role as the beloved host of Reading Rainbow to his new documentary The Right to Read, Burton’s unique and contagious passion for books has inspired countless readers. This year—more than ever before—books are at risk, and we are tremendously proud to have a champion like Burton celebrate authors, translators, and readers everywhere as the host of the 2023 National Book Awards.”

The National Book Award Winners in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature will be announced live on Wednesday, November 15. The five Finalists in each category were selected by a distinguished panel of judges, and were announced earlier this month by the New York Times. The invitation-only 74th National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner, featuring special guest Oprah Winfrey, will also include the presentation of two lifetime achievement awards. Rita Dove, National Book Award Finalist and Pulitzer Prize winning poet, will be recognized with the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, presented by National Book Award Finalist Jericho Brown, and Paul Yamazaki, principal buyer at City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, will receive the Foundation’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, presented by Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan. Readers everywhere can register for the National Book Awards Ceremony broadcast at nationalbook.org/awards.

In addition to announcing the National Book Award Winners, the Benefit Dinner drives funding for the Foundation’s year-round educational and public programming to connect readers of all ages, in every corner of the country, with books and authors. For more information about the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner, including sponsorship opportunities, please visit the National Book Foundation website.

ABOUT LEVAR BURTON:

LeVar Burton is an actor, director, producer, and podcaster whose decades-long body of work includes Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Reading Rainbow. He is the honored recipient of seven NAACP Awards, a Peabody Award, a Grammy Award, and 15 Emmy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Inaugural Children’s & Family Emmys.

As a lifelong literacy advocate, Burton has dedicated decades to encouraging children to read. In 2023, Burton premiered his first documentary, The Right to Read, a film that positions the literacy crisis in America as a civil rights issue. The Right to Read was an official selection at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and SXSW EDU.

Burton continues to exercise his passion for storytelling as the award-winning author of Aftermath, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, and A Kids Book About Imagination. He launched his first book club with Fable, a digital book club community, and partnered with Masterclass, to share the power of storytelling.

His production company, LeVar Burton Entertainment (LBE), develops projects in the film, television, podcasting, and publishing space with the mission to share stories that fosters empathy, champions diversity, and builds community.

Now in its 12th season, the enormously popular LeVar Burton Reads podcast has over 175 episodes in its catalog, boasting 25 million downloads. LBE’s first Kids & Family podcast, Sound Detectives, will debut on Stitcher in July of 2023.

As a pop culture icon, Burton has the unique ability to reach across all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic groups–communicating to a large fan base that is highly engaged and motivated to embrace his message.

Image: LeVar Burton. (Photo credit: Sarah Coulter for Paramount+)