NYPL’s Young Lions Award Finalists Take Readers to Unfamiliar Lands

Five finalists have been named for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, a prize given annually to a writer under the age of 35 for a novel or collection of short stories. A panel of Young Lions members, writers, editors, and librarians selected the finalists; on June 9th, judges will award one author with the $10,000 prize.

In the running for 2014 are Matt Bell (In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods), Jennifer DuBois (Cartwheel), Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena), Chinelo Okparanta (Happiness, Like Water), and Paul Yoon (Snow Hunters).

The settings of the novels are as diverse as their authors: the finalists take us to Brazil, Nigeria, Chechnya, Buenos Aires, and a remote lakeshore far away from home. Anthony Marra might be considered a frontrunner, as he’s already won the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle for best debut novel. For others, this would be their first major award.

Claire Vaye Watkins’ Battleborn won the 2013 Young Lions Fiction Award, as voted on by Karen Russell, John Wray, and Peter Nathaniel Malae. As last year’s winner, Watkins will join the jury to select 2014’s winner.

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