Here Are This Year’s 5 Under 35 Honorees

Where are the best young writers in America publishing? Looking at this year’s 5 Under 35 Honorees, the answer is in the small presses. Four out of five of this year’s winners are on small or independent presses (Hawthorne Books, Ig Publishing, Black Cat / Grove Atlantic, and Dorothy). The five honorees this year, who were chosen by previous honorees, are a diverse group of writers from around the country. The five are:

  • Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins (Black Cat / Grove Atlantic), selected by Paul Yoon
  • Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), selected by ZZ Packer
  • Megan Kruse, author of Call Me Home (Hawthorne Books), selected by Phil Klay
  • Tracy O’Neill, author of The Hopeful (Ig Publishing), selected by Fiona Maazel
  • Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, author of Fra Keeler (Dorothy, a publishing project), selected by Dinaw Mengestu

In a press release, the National Book Foundation said:

These five extraordinary writers will be honored at a ceremony hosted by LeVar Burton, Curator-in-Chief/Host of Reading Rainbow, on November 16, 2015 at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, NY. For the second year in a row, author Ben Greenman will emcee and columnist Rosie Schaap will guest bartend. 5 Under 35 is sponsored by Amazon Literary Partnerships, with additional event sponsorship from the New York Distilling Company. Each Honoree will receive a prize of $1,000 and will be invited to appear at a special event in Miami, FL in the Spring of 2016, in partnership with Miami Book Fair International.

“Over the past ten years, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 program has established itself as a hallmark of emerging literary talent,” said Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “The writers we’ve recognized have established themselves among the most acclaimed and admired working today.”

5 Under 35 Honorees are writers under the age of 35 who have published one book of fiction — either a short story collection or novel — within the last five years. This year’s Honorees include a 2014 Whiting Award winner and have received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, The Center for Fiction, and The Fulbright Program. Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House, is also currently longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction.

Previous Honorees include Danielle Evans, Nam Le, Valeria Luiselli, Karen Russell, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Justin Torres, Claire Vaye Watkins, and Tiphanie Yanique, as well as past National Book Award Finalist Téa Obreht and 2014 National Book Award Fiction Winner Phil Klay.

Here are the bios of the five honorees:

Colin Barrett was born in 1982 and grew up in County Mayo, Ireland. In 2009 he was awarded the Penguin Ireland Prize. His stories have appeared in Stinging Fly magazine, A Public Space, Five Dials, and The New Yorker. Young Skins is his first book.

Angela Flournoy is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received a Dean’s Fellowship, and the University of Southern California. She has taught writing at the University of Iowa and Trinity Washington University and has worked for the Washington, DC Public Library. She was raised in Southern California by a mother from Los Angeles and a father from Detroit. The Turner House is her first novel.

Megan Kruse grew up in the rural Pacific Northwest. She studied creative writing at Oberlin College and earned her MFA at the University of Montana. Her work has appeared widely in journals and anthologies, and she recently completed residencies at the Kimmel-Harding-Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska and the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center in Minnesota. She is the 2015–2016 Visiting Writer-in-Residence at Eastern Oregon University’s Low-Residency MFA program. She currently lives in Seattle. Call Me Home is her first novel.

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of Fra Keeler. She is the recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award, a MacDowell Fellowship, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Catalonia, Spain. She has lived in Italy, Spain, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and now resides in the USA. She teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame and splits her time between South Bend, Indiana and Florence, Italy.

Tracy O’Neill lives in Brooklyn. In 2012, she was awarded a NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship by the Center for Fiction. Her novel The Hopeful was published in June 2015, and her short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Guernica, Granta, The Literarian, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and Promethean. You can read her nonfiction in The Atlantic, Grantland, Bookforum, Rolling Stone, and She currently teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the City College of New York.

You can see the authors as baseball cards at Buzzfeed Books, which had the first announcement.

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