The National Book Foundation Announces its 2022 5 Under 35 Honorees

April 2022



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 National Book Award Winner, Finalist, or Longlisted author, or authors previously recognized by the 5 Under 35 program. 5 Under 35 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 5 Under 35 program continues to honor the next generation of literary luminaries, and this year’s honorees represent some of the best new fiction in recent years,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “It is an honor to welcome these authors into the National Book Foundation family, champion their debuts, and connect readers everywhere with these wonderful new voices.”

The 2022 Honorees have been recognized by the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection and the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Their work has been supported by Kundiman, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Yaddo, and Ucross Foundation, among others. Honorees’ writing has appeared in publications including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Guernica, Catapult, Electric Literature, and Harvard Review. This year’s selections include four novels and one short story collection—works that explore cultural identity, the aftermath of war, migration and boundaries, class, and intergenerational trauma.

“It is such a joy to recognize debut works that showcase outstanding craft and storytelling, and we are grateful to our expert selectors who read enthusiastically to identify these stunning books,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “We are thrilled to celebrate the 17th year of the 5 Under 35 program and to recognize this impressive cohort as they join a group of incredibly talented writers.”

This year’s 5 Under 35 selectors are 2021 and 2014 National Book Award Finalist Anthony Doerr, 2017 National Book Award Finalist Min Jin Lee, 2021 National Book Award Winner Jason Mott, 2019 National Book Award Finalist Julia Phillips, and 2015 5 Under 35 honoree Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi. Their decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors; deliberations are strictly confidential.

For the first time, the 5 Under 35 Ceremony will take place in the spring. Both the 2022 and 2021 honorees will be celebrated at an invitation-only ceremony in New York City this June. The 2021 honorees are Caleb Azumah Nelson, Nathan Harris, Lee Lai, Claire Luchette, and Dantiel W. Moniz.

Previous Honorees include Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Lesley Nneka Arimah, K-Ming Chang, Anelise Chen, Naima Coster, Yaa Gyasi, Danielle Evans, 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 Longlisted authors Molly Antopol and Brit Bennett, National Book Award Finalists Akwaeke Emezi, Angela Flournoy, and Téa Obreht, 2014 National Book Award Winner Phil Klay, and 2020 National Book Award Winner Charles Yu.

5 Under 35 is sponsored by the Amazon Literary Partnership. Each honoree will receive a $1,000 prize.

The 2022 5 Under 35 honorees are:

Alexandra Chang, Days of Distraction
Ecco / HarperCollins Publishers
Selected by Jason Mott, 2021 National Book Award Winner for Fiction

Joseph Han, Nuclear Family
Counterpoint Press
Selected by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, 2015 5 Under 35 honoree

Crystal Hana Kim, If You Leave Me
William Morrow / HarperCollins Publishers
Selected by Min Jin Lee, 2017 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction

Clare Sestanovich, Objects of Desire: Stories
Knopf / Penguin Random House
Selected by Anthony Doerr, 2021 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction, 2014 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction

Alyssa Songsiridej, Little Rabbit
Bloomsbury Publishing
Selected by Julia Phillips, 2019 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction