New Literary Prize Celebrates Brooklyn Writers

Everyone loves some good, healthy competition, right?

In the wake of the Man Booker Prize’s 2015 Longlist announcement, literary communities around the world are already speculating about the eventual winner. While the Man Booker longlist features writers born in countries such as Morocco, Jamaica, and New Zealand, a new literary award a little closer to (our) home has been born, highlighting a small but mighty literary region: Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize “recognizes the best books of the past year and the authors who most embody Brooklyn’s ideals.” We’re excited about this new prize and its focus on dozens of brilliant Brooklynites.

Chosen by Brooklyn’s bookstores, the Brooklyn Eagles (supporters of the Brooklyn Public Library), and librarians, the 2015 fiction and nonfiction nominees include a multitude of books we’ve reviewed (Kate Bolick’s Spinster, Ben Lerner’s 10:04, Atticus Lish’s Preparation for the Next Life), authors we’ve interviewed (John Benditt, Emily Gould, Hanya Yanagihara, James Hannaham, Tiphanie Yanique) as well as authors we’ve featured in Recommended Reading (Marie-Helene Bertino). Ariel Schrag also kindly compiled a playlist of the music mentioned in his (nominated) novel Adam.

If the longlists don’t satisfy your craving, Brooklyn Magazine compiled a list of the “The 25 Best Brooklyn Books of the Decade (So Far).”

The New York Times describes Brooklyn as an “overgrown writer’s colony” and identifies the prize as a way to “codify the literary bona fides of a borough whose authors already regularly compete for coffee shop real estate, publishing advances, and Pulitzer Prizes.” So yes, perhaps there will be a little blood in the water as the declaration of a winner draws near; however, Brooklyn also boasts a tight-knit community of readers and writers who frequently assemble at Franklin Park (Crown Heights), Community Bookstore (Park Slope), Greenlight Books (Fort Greene), PowerHouse Arena (DUMBO), and Bookcourt (Cobble Hill) for readings and general merriment.

Because I reside on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I often feel left out of the Brooklyn literary scene; journeying down to the bustling borough takes a hefty chunk of my time. If you’re a clueless Manhattanite like myself, you’ll love exploring Brooklyn’s many distinct neighborhoods using this handy literary guide.

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