Press Release

Shortlists Announced for 2017 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize

Brooklyn, NY

Final winners to be selected by esteemed panel of judges and announced in November.

The shortlists for the 2017 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize, presented by the Brooklyn Eagles, were announced today. The final selections include a novel, a book-length poem, a collection of short stories, and three works of nonfiction. Winners will be announced on November 2.

The nominees, selected by a team of BPL librarians, include emerging and established writers, whose work reflects Brooklyn's distinct multiculturalism:

Fiction and Poetry (Alphabetical by last name):

  • Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Books)
  • What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky: Stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah (Riverhead Books) (debut short story collection)
  • IRL by Tommy Pico (Birds, LLC)

Non-Fiction (Alphabetical by last name):

  • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Doubleday)
  • Fear City: New York's Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics by Kim Phillips-Fein (Metropolitan Books)
  • The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (Liveright Publishing)

“The shortlists for the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize feature works of fiction and nonfiction that do much to contribute to our understanding of the complex times in which we are living,” said BPL President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. “With this award, we celebrate extraordinary books and the writers who created them, along with the many people—librarians, booksellers, publishers and readers—who contribute so much to Brooklyn's literary life and beyond.”

The final winners will be selected by an esteemed panel of judges that includes BPL librarians. Other members of the panel are: poet, National Book Award finalist, and MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine; novelist, art critic, and international lecturer on psychoanalysis and neuroscience Siri Hustvedt; Shakespeare scholar and award-winning Columbia University professor James Shapiro; philosopher Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research and moderator of "The Stone" at the New York Times; novelist Imbolo Mbue, winner of the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction; and eminent queer theorist and Columbia University professor Jack Halberstam.

The Prize was established in 2015 by the Brooklyn Eagles, a group of young patrons who support the library and its programs. It recognizes works that question established ways of thinking and which advance Brooklyn Public Library's mission of bringing together the borough's diverse communities to explore urgent social, political, and artistic issues. 

The winners will be celebrated at The Brooklyn Classic, the annual fundraising event of the Brooklyn Eagles, on November 3 at Park Slope Library.

The Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize is generously supported by the Peck Stacpoole Foundation.

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