Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Award Will Recognize Top Brooklyn Fiction and Nonfiction Books of the Year, Celebrate the Vibrant Literary Culture of the World’s Creative Capital

Fiction and Nonfiction Longlists Nominated by Brooklyn Library Professionals, Bookstores

Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) and borough bookstores are celebrating Brooklyn literature this summer with the inaugural Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize, Library leadership announced today. With 15 fiction and 14 nonfiction nominations submitted by Brooklyn library professionals and bookstores, the annual prize will be awarded to authors who have lived in Brooklyn, portrayed the borough in their work or addressed themes relevant to its life and culture.

“Brooklyn has inspired generations of America’s finest writers, from Walt Whitman to Gregory Pardlo,” said Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda Johnson. “The Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize, like the Library itself, recognizes established authors and rising stars who express the spirit of Brooklyn in vivid, compelling prose.”

The prize was created by the Brooklyn Eagles, a community of young professionals who volunteer their time and raise funds for the Library.

“The Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize is a different sort of literary award, driven by Brooklynites who interact with books and readers on a daily and personal basis,” said Literary Prize Co-Chair Ashley Mihlebach. “Our goal in creating a prize with input from bookstores and librarians is to celebrate artists and the Brooklyn institutions that nurture them.”

The fiction longlist is comprised of 15 works that span genres and continents, including Nelson George’s The Lost Treasures of R&B, a hard-boiled mystery set in Brownsville; Mira Jacob’s The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, an examination of dual identity and the sometimes uneasy blending of intercontinental cultures; Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel, a graphic novel from Brooklynite Anya Ulinich about the difficulty of dating for a single parent in the borough; John Benditt’s The Boatmaker, a narrative set in Northern Europe in the 19th century with themes relevant to the Brooklyn of the 21st; and Preparation for the Next Life, the acclaimed PEN/Faulkner Award-winning debut novel from Atticus Lish.

The nonfiction longlist includes works that examine 1990s-era Bed-Stuy (Buddha Monk and Mickey Hess’s The Dirty Version: On Stage, in the Studio, and in the Streets with Ol' Dirty Bastard); the early years of Luna Park (Claire Prentice’s The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Spectacle of the Century); Brooklyn’s DIY culture (Peter Thomas Fornatale’s Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World's Hippest Borough and Tara Heibel’s Rooted in Design: Sprout Home's Guide to Creative Indoor Planting); and the changing face of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods (DW Gibson’s The Edge Becomes the Center).

The full longlists appear below and are also available here.

The Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize fiction and nonfiction shortlists will be announced in August. From there a panel of Brooklyn’s most celebrated authors and brightest literary minds will choose one winning work from each category. The awards will be presented on October 23 at the Brooklyn Classic, the Eagles’ annual fundraiser.

“The Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize’s longlists reflect the incredible diversity that makes Brooklyn one of the most creative communities in the world,” said Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times editor and Literary Prize Co-Chair Charles Duhigg. “Brooklyn’s bookstores and librarians have cast a broad net, and their selections pose a challenging question: What book best embodies Brooklyn’s ideals?”

The Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize is supported by the Peck Stacpoole Foundation, which is funding the prizes that will be awarded to the winners.

“The Peck Stacpoole Foundation is proud to contribute to Brooklyn’s literary culture by supporting the inaugural Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize,” said Foundation President Frederic W. Schaen.

Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize Longlist, Fiction

  • Adam by Ariel Schrag (Mariner Books)
  • The Boatmaker by John Benditt (Tin House Books)
  • Delicious Foods by James Hannaham (Little, Brown and Company)
  • Friendship by Emily Gould (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique (Riverhead)
  • Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich (Penguin)
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday)
  • The Lost Treasures of R&B by Nelson George (Akashic Books)
  • Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya (Riverhead Books)
  • Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish (Tyrant Books)
  • The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing by Mira Jacob (Random House)
  • Small Mercies by Eddie Joyce (Viking)
  • The Sunshine Crust Baking Factory by Stacy Wakefield (Akashic Books)
  • 10:04 by Ben Lerner (Faber & Faber)
  • 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino (Crown)

Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize Longlist, Nonfiction

  • All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn by Jason Sokol (Basic Books)
  • Brooklyn’s Historic Greenpoint by Brian Merlis and Riccardo Gomes (Gomerl Publishing)
  • Brooklyn's Promised Land: The Free Black Community of Weeksville, New York by Judith Wellman (NYU Press)
  • Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity by Oriana Leckert (The Monacelli Press)
  • The Brooklyn Spirits: Craft Distilling and Cocktails from the World's Hippest Borough by Peter Fornatale (powerHouse Books)
  • Dirty Version: On Stage, in the Studio, and in the Streets with Ol' Dirty Bastard by Buddha Monk and Mickey Hess (Dey Street Books)
  • The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the 21st Century by DW Gibson (The Overlook Press)
  • I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised A Timid Son by Kent Russell (Knopf)
  • Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured by Kathryn Harrison (Doubleday Books)
  • The Lost Tribe of Coney Island: Headhunters, Luna Park, and the Man Who Pulled Off the Rooted in Design: Sprout Home's Guide to Creative Indoor Planting by Tara Heibel and Tassy De Give (Ten Speed Press)
  • Spectacle of the Century by Claire Prentice (New Harvest)
  • Spinster: Making A Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick (Crown)
  • There Is Only the Earth: Images from the Armenian Diaspora Project by Scout Tufankjian (Melcher Media)
  • Things to Shout Out Loud at Parties by Markus Almond (Brooklyn to Mars Books)

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: 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, happy hours and the annual Brooklyn Classic fundraiser.

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