Friday, July 27, 2018

Nominated by BPL Librarians, Titles Reflect the Urgent Social and Political Issues of Our Time

BROOKLYN, NY (27 July 2018)—The long lists for the 2018 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize for fiction and nonfiction were announced today. The Prize, established in 2015 in collaboration with the Brooklyn Eagles, is selected entirely by librarians and is one of only a few major literary prizes awarded by a public library system.

Drawing on their broad knowledge of literature and contemporary writing, the librarians’ selections represent a wide range of issues, genres, and voices, advancing the Brooklyn Public Library’s mission to bring together the borough’s diverse communities to explore urgent social, political, and artistic issues.

“The range of stories, poetry, memoir, histories, and more nominated for the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize reflect the adventurous tastes of the most voracious readers in Brooklyn,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “Our librarians have curated a list of books that reflect the diversity and daring of our borough.”

In tackling complex social, political, and spiritual questions, the nominees mirror the vast collections of the Library, spanning different experiences, geographies, and generations.

"The titles on this year's longlists offer readers a lively and diverse range of subjects and perspectives that reflect the vibrancy and complexity of Brooklyn,” said Librarian Mark Daly, Prize committee member. “By putting these books forward for consideration, we hope to spark impassioned conversations and encourage deep reflection as part of our mission to foster engaged communities in our neighborhood libraries."

The longlists feature works by 13 women and six men, including three debut novels, two books of poetry, a graphic novel, short stories, memoirs, and works of nonfiction. The nominated authors—in both the fiction and nonfiction categories—address the challenges of immigration, race, nationalism, addiction and mental illness, family secrets, and loss in profound, thoughtful, humorous, and sometimes unexpected ways.


In alphabetical order by author last name


In alphabetical order by author last name


BPL Vice President of Arts & Culture Jakab Lazlo 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, eight librarians representing branches from Sheepshead Bay to Williamsburg, and from Red Hook to Bay Ridge, form the Prize committee. They will receive input from librarians system-wide to determine the short list in mid-September, and the winners for fiction and nonfiction will be selected and announced by the panel in October 2018.

The Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize was established by the Brooklyn Eagles, a group of young and engaged Brooklynites who are passionate about Brooklyn Public Library and work to engage new patrons, promote the Library as a cultural center, and build a vibrant community around the resources the library offers. The winners of the fiction and non-fiction award will each receive a $5,000 prize at the Brooklyn Classic, the annual fundraising event of the Brooklyn Eagles.

The 2018 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize is generously supported by the Peck Stacpoole Foundation.


Fiction: IRL by Tommy Pico (Birds, LLC)
Nonfiction: The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (Liveright Publishing)

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)

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)



About Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn Public Library is the nation’s sixth largest library system and among the borough’s most democratic civic institutions. BPL offers 65,000 free programs a year for people from all walks of life—immigrants learning a new language, students preparing for college, older adults seeking companionship, aspiring entrepreneurs launching their dreams, children discovering the world, and people of all ages exploring arts and culture. And BPL provides patrons 3.9 million opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the discovery of a good book. Learn more at


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