Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Eagles are proud to announce the winners of the 2019 BPL Literary Prize:

Brooklyn Public Library is pleased to announce the winners of the fifth annual Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize! Miriam Toews is the 2019 Fiction and Poetry Prize winner for Women Talking, and Tressie McMillan Cottom is the 2019 Nonfiction Prize winner for Thick: And Other Essays. Nominees and winners for the 2019 Prize were selected by librarians throughout BPL’s 59 branches. The selection committee was comprised of 13 librarians from across Brooklyn's neighborhoods.

In Thick: And Other Essays, Tressie McMillan Cottom, acclaimed author of Lower Ed and award-winning sociology professor, offers eight piercing explorations of beauty, media and money, effortlessly fusing the political, the social and the personal about what it means to be a black woman in America. Serving up a healthy portion of clever prose and southern aphorisms, Cottom covers everything from Saturday Night Live, LinkedIn and BBQ Becky to sexual violence, infant mortality and Trump rallies.

Miriam Toews’ Women Talking is a masterful novel about eight women in a remote Mennonite colony facing an agonizing decision in the aftermath of a series of unspeakable sexual crimes. Based on real events and told through the meeting minutes of the women’s all-female symposium, Toews uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.

In addition to Miriam Toews, the 2019 shortlist nominees for fiction and poetry were Fatimah Asghar for If They Come for Us: Poems; Terrance Hayes for American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin; and N.K. Jemisin for How Long ‘til Black Future Month?: Stories. The other nominees for nonfiction included Aaron Bobrow-Strain for The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story;  Nick Estes for Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance; and Nathaniel Rich for Losing Earth: A Recent History.

A celebration for the authors will take place on November 8 at the Brooklyn Public Library Classic, a signature event for the Brooklyn Eagles, a group of young professionals who support the library through volunteering and fundraising.


Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Eagles are proud to announce the shortlist nominees of the 2019 BPL Literary Prize:

The shortlist nominees for the 2019 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize, presented by the Brooklyn Eagles, were announced at the Brooklyn Book Festival on September 22, 2019. Each year Brooklyn Public Library, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Eagles, recognizes outstanding works of nonfiction and fiction with a prize given in the fall. The winners will accept their awards, which come with a $5,000 prize, on Friday, November 8, 2019 at the Brooklyn Classic, the signature fundraising event of the Brooklyn Eagles. 

Nominations for the 2019 prize were made by librarians throughout BPL’s 59 branches. The selection committee was comprised of 13 librarians from across Brooklyn's neighborhoods.

Read the full 2019 BPL Literary Prize press release here


2019 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize Shortlist

Nonfiction

The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story by Aaron Bobrow-Strain (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Thick: And Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom (The New Press)

Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance by Nick Estes (Verso Books)

Losing Earth: A Recent History by Nathaniel Rich (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Fiction & Poetry

If They Come for Us: Poems by Fatimah Asghar (One World (Random House))

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes (Penguin Books)

How Long til Black Future Month?: Stories by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit (Hachette Book Group))

Women Talking: A Novel by Miriam Toews (Bloomsbury Publishing)


The Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize was established in 2015 by the Brooklyn Eagles, a group of young and engaged Brooklynites who are passionate about Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) and work to engage new patrons, promote the Library as a cultural center, and build a vibrant community around the resources the library offers.

Last year, Jeanne Theoharis was awarded the 2018 Nonfiction Prize for A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History (Beacon Press) and Carmen Maria Machado as the 2018 Fiction & Poetry Prize recipient for her short collection Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf Press).

The Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize presented by the Brooklyn Eagles is generously underwritten by the Peck Stacpoole Foundation, with additional support from City Point.

The winners will be celebrated at the Brooklyn Classic, the annual fundraising event of the Brooklyn Eagles, on November 8 at Park Slope Library. 

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