- Published on Wednesday, 12 October 2016 19:25
Each year, the honorees are selected by National Book Award Winners and Finalists, as well as by previously-recognized honorees for the very same prize. “We ask acclaimed authors in the Foundation’s family to pay it forward,” Benjamin Samuel, the director of the program, explained to the LA Times.
Notable honorees in the past have become burgeoning literary names like Nam Le, Karen Russell, Téa Obreht, and Phil Klay, among others.
The 2016 honorees include:
California born-and-raised Brit Bennett, author of “The Mothers” (Riverhead), who started writing her book in high school. It will be published mid-October. She was selected by judge Jacqueline Woodson, whose book “Another Brooklyn” is on the 2016 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction, and is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award Finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner.
Yaa Gyasi, author of “Homegoing” (Knopf), is a Ghana-born and Berkeley-based graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She was selected by judge Ta-Nehisi Coates, who won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction for “Between the World and Me,” recently received a MacArthur “Genius Grant,” and is a National Correspondent for The Atlantic.
Greg Jackson, author of “Prodigals” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony and a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He was selected by judge Lauren Groff, whose book “Fates and Furies” was a finalist in 2015 for the National Book Award for Fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kirkus Award.
S. Li, author of “Transoceanic Lights” (Harvard Square Editions), works as a neurologist and used his family’s immigration story of moving to Boston from China as literary fodder. He was selected by judge Karen Bender, whose short story collection “Refund” was a finalist for the National Book Award, shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize, and longlisted for the Story Prize.
South Carolina-born Thomas Pierce, author of “Hall of Small Mammals” (Riverhead), lives in Virginia with his family; he did not initially conceive his short stories as a book. He was selected by judge Amity Gaige, who was recognized as a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree in 2006.
This year’s crop of young writers will be celebrated at a ceremony in New York on November 14, 2016. Each will be awarded a $1,000 prize by the Amazon Literary Partnership.