The National Book Foundation Announces its 2024 5 Under 35 Honorees

March 2024



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