Press Release

Brooklyn Public Library Announces 2017 Longlist For Third Annual Literary Prize

Brooklyn, NY

Nominated Titles Explore Urgent Issues in Brooklyn and Across the Nation, and BPL Librarians Assume Leading Role in Nomination and Selection Process

The longlists for the 2017 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize, Presented by the Brooklyn Eagles, for fiction and nonfiction were announced today. The Prize, established in 2015 by the Brooklyn Eagles, a group of young patrons who support the library and its programs, recognizes works that question established ways of thinking and advance Brooklyn Public Library’s mission of bringing together the borough’s diverse communities to explore urgent social, political, and artistic issues. 

Brooklyn Public Library has expanded the role of its librarians throughout the Prize nomination and selection process. Drawing from their experiences serving the people of Brooklyn, their broad knowledge of contemporary works, and their commitment to enhancing the life of the borough, the librarians play an integral role in the Prize and give it a unique focus. BPL Vice President of Arts & Culture, Jakab Orsos, former Director of the PEN World Voices Festival, has collaborated with BPL librarians to shape the current Prize. Following a system-wide call for librarians to submit their nominations, 29 librarians representing 17 branches are participating in the Prize committee, selecting the longlists and shortlists before collaborating with celebrated authors in a judging panel to determine the winners.

“The longlist for the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize reflects the expansive range of voices in our borough, and the adventurousness of our extraordinary librarians,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “We look forward to celebrating the nominated works by adding them to our circulating collection, organizing discussion groups, and hosting author talks.”

Echoing Brooklyn’s distinct multiculturalism, this year’s nominees are an eclectic group of emerging and esteemed writers from eight countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The longlists include two works in translation, a first novel, a debut short story collection, and feature nine women and seven men.

Nonfiction

  1. Hostage by Guy Delisle (Drawn & Quarterly)
  2. In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi (Picador)
  3. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Doubleday)
  4. Age of Anger: A History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  5. Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics by Kim Phillips-Fein (Metropolitan Books)
  6. You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson (Plume)
  7. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (Liveright Publishing)
  8. Conflict is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility and the Duty of Repair by Sarah Schulman (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Fiction

  1. What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories byLesley Nneka Arimah (Riverhead Books)
  2. Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Books)
  3. The Lesser Bohemians: A Novel by Eimear McBride (Hogarth)
  4. IRL by Tommy Pico (Birds, LLC)
  5. Black Wave by Michelle Tea (Feminist Press)
  6. Reputations: A Novel by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Riverhead Books, translated by Anne McLean)
  7. The Impossible Fairy Tale by Han Yujoo (Graywolf Press, trans. by Janet Hong)
  8. The Book of Joan: A Novel by Lidia Yuknavitch (Harper)

BPL librarians from various departments and branches led by Arts & History Division Librarian Peter Otis (Fiction) and ‎Library Information SupervisorDavid Camara (Nonfiction) will determine the shortlist, to be announced in mid-September. The shortlist will be passed on to judging panels, comprised of prominent authors, cultural leaders, and BPL librarians, to select one prizewinner in each category who will be announced in October.   

Those two winners will each receive a $2,500 prize at the Brooklyn Classic, the annual fundraising event of the Brooklyn Eagles. This year’s co-chairs for the Brooklyn Eagles’ nonfiction and fiction prize committees are Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and best-selling author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better; and Ashley Mihlebach, Online and Digital Sales Manager of Penguin Random House. 

“The longlists for the Literary Prize is a fantastic range of work, from graphic nonfiction and poetry to memoir and narrative journalism,” said Duhigg. “This prize embodies what the Library stands for, a commitment to Brooklyn and free expression, and we’re so proud to support these programs and mission."     

Major support for The Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize is provided by the Peck Stacpoole Foundation.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2016

  • Fiction: Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey (Little, Brown & Company)
  • Nonfiction: Lockdown on Rikers: Shocking Stories of Abuse and Injustice at New York's Notorious Jail by Mary E. Buser (St. Martin’s Press)

2015

  • Fiction: Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish (Tyrant Books)
  • Nonfiction: The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the Twenty-First Century by DW Gibson (The Overlook Press)

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About Brooklyn Public Library (BPL)

Brooklyn Public Library serves patrons in every neighborhood and from every walk of life, and is the nation’s fifth-largest public library system with over 60 neighborhood libraries and nearly 700,000 active cardholders. With a branch library within a half-mile of nearly all of Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents, BPL is a recognized leader in cultural offerings, literacy, out-of-school-time services, workforce development programs, and digital literacy. In a borough of wide economic disparity, where the costs of basic necessities often take priority over spending on cultural enrichment opportunities, BPL provides a democratic space where patrons of all economic standings can avail themselves and their children of cultural and educational programs in a broad range of disciplines.

The American Library Association’s 2014 Public Library Data Service Statistical Report ranked BPL third in the nation among public libraries for public programs offered and program attendance. In 2016, BPL was awarded an IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museum and libraries, in large part due to the work of its Outreach Services department and its efforts to serve Brooklyn’s most vulnerable populations. 

BPL offers free programs and services for all ages and stages of life, including a large selection of books in more than 30 languages, author talks, literacy programs, and public computers. BPL’s eResources, such as eBooks and eVideos, catalog information and free homework help, are available to customers of all ages 24 hours a day at our website: www.bklynlibrary.org.

About the Brooklyn Eagles

The Brooklyn Eagles are a community of engaged young Brooklyn Public Library supporters whose mission is to connect with new patrons, promote BPL as a cultural center, and build a vibrant community around the Library. The Eagles support BPL by fundraising, advocating, and raising awareness for Library programs and resources. Since 2013, the Eagles have volunteered their time and engaged hundreds of young professionals through their service projects, social gatherings, and the annual Brooklyn Classic fundraiser. To learn more about the Eagles please visit www.bklynlibrary.org/support/brooklyn-eagles.

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