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Monday, August 29, 2016

Brooklyn Librarians Select Fiction, Nonfiction Candidates for 2016 Prize

Shortlisted Authors to Read at Franklin Park on September 13; Winners to Be Announced on October 21 at Brooklyn Classic

Brooklyn, NY–Marriage and family. The immigrant experience. Rikers Island. The Godfather of Soul. A mysterious disappearance. A bar in Red Hook. These are among the subjects treated in the works of fiction and nonfiction shortlisted for the second annual Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize. Brooklyn Public Library announced the shortlists today.

Created by the Brooklyn Eagles, a community of young professionals and artists who support the Library through volunteer projects, the prize is awarded each year to works of fiction and nonfiction by authors who have lived in Brooklyn, portrayed the borough in their work or addressed themes relevant to its life and culture. Last year’s winners were journalist DW Gibson’sThe Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification and novelist Atticus Lish’s Preparation for the Next Life.

“The Eagles Prize shortlists feature some of the most noteworthy fiction and nonfiction published in the United States in the past year,” said BPL President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. “The award celebrates not only these extraordinary works, but also the writers who created them and the many people—booksellers, librarians and readers—who contribute so much to the literary life of the borough.”

Eagles Prize nominations are submitted in the spring by borough bookstores and librarians, then evaluated throughout the summer by a committee of Brooklyn librarians who select the shortlists. From there, a panel of authors and critics chooses the fiction and nonfiction winners. The identity of this year’s judges will be announced at the Franklin Park Reading Series on September 13, a Brooklyn Book Festival BookEnd event which will also feature readings by the shortlisted authors.

The shortlists appear below and are also available at All six titles are available for checkout at Brooklyn Public Library, as are the 2016 longlisted titles and last year’s Eagles Prize winners.

The Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize is supported by The Peck Stacpoole Foundation.

The shortlisted works:


  • Boris Fishman, Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo (Harper Collins): A novelist who has earned comparisons to Bellow and Roth tells the story of the Maya and Alex Rubin, Russian transplants living in New Jersey with an adopted American son. Nominated by Barnes & Noble, Court Street.
  • Tanwi Nandini Islam, Bright Lines (Penguin): A debut novel set in Brooklyn and Bangladesh, following two young women as they navigate the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. Nominated by WORD.
  • Idra Novey, Ways to Disappear (Little, Brown): A Brazilian writer disappears and is sought by her children and her American translator in this debut. Nominated by Community Bookstore.


  • Mary E. Buser, Lockdown on Rikers: Shocking Stories of Abuse and Injustice at New York's Notorious Jail (St. Martin’s Press): A former mental health administrator at Rikers describes the everyday abuses she encountered while attempting to serve the needs of inmates there. Nominated by a BookMatch librarian.
  • James McBride, Kill ’Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul (Spiegel & Grau): A National Book Award-winning novelist goes in search of the “real” James Brown by interviewing those who knew him. Nominated by Barnes & Noble, Court Street.
  • Tim Sultan, Sunny’s Nights: Lost and Found at a Bar on the Edge of the World (Random House): The story of an unusual bar in Red Hook and its eccentric owner, Sunny Balzano. Nominated by Pioneer Books and BookCourt.

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About Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is an independent library system for the 2.5 million residents of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest library system in the United States with 60 neighborhood libraries located throughout the borough. 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:

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.

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