The New York Public Library Announces 2018 Young Lions Fiction Award Finalists

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April 13, 2018 - The New York Public Library has announced finalists for the eighteenth annual Young Lions Fiction Award, honoring the works of five talented young authors. This year's finalists are:

  • Lesley Nneka Arimah, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky
  • Venita Blackburn, Black Jesus and Other Superheroes
  • Gabe Habash, Stephen Florida
  • Emily Ruskovich, Idaho
  • Jenny Zhang, Sour Heart

"The Young Lions Fiction Award not only celebrates the rising stars in the world of literature, it also ensures that readers can look forward to a bright future of compelling and original stories,"  said Vincent Piazza, Co-Chair of the Young Lions Committee. "It is my honor to congratulate this year's finalists on their stunning works." 

Founded in 2001, the Young Lions Fiction Award is given annually to an American writer age 35 or younger for either a novel or a collection of short stories. Each year, five young fiction writers are selected as finalists by a reading committee of writers, editors, and librarians. A panel of award judges--which this year includes Carys Davies and 2017's winner Karan Mahajan--will select the winner of this year's $10,000 prize.

The winning writer will be awarded on June 7, 2018 at 7pm during a ceremony held in the Celeste Bartos Forum of NYPL's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The 2018 Young Lions Fiction Award ceremony is generously sponsored by the Fernandez Foundation with additional support provided by Madewell, Insomnia Cookies, and Urban Stems. For more details about the ceremony and the Young Lions, visit

Past winners of the Young Lions Fiction Award include: Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs; Amelia Gray, Gutshot; Molly Antopol, The UnAmericans; Paul Yoon, Snow Hunters; Claire Vaye Watkins, Battleborn; Karen Russell, Swamplandia; Adam Levin, The Instructions; Wells Tower, Everything Ravaged; Salvatore Scibona, The End; Ron Currie, Jr., God is Dead; Olga Grushin, The Dream Life of Sukhanov; Uzodinma Iweala, Beasts of No Nation; Andrew Sean Greer, The Confessions of Max Tivoli; Monique Truong, Book of Salt; Anthony Doerr, The Shell Collector; Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated; Colson Whitehead, John Henry Days; and Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

The New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award was founded by Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, Rick Moody, and Hannah McFarland. The Award is made possible by an endowment created with generous gifts from Russell Abrams, Nina Collins, Hannah and Gavin McFarland, Ethan Hawke, Stephan Loewentheil, Rick Moody, Andrea Olshan and Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. 

Press Contact: Nora Lyons,

About the Young Lions

The Young Lions is a membership group for New Yorkers in their 20s and 30s who are committed to supporting the work of the Library. Each season, members enjoy exclusive events that feature young writers and leaders in the arts, politics, business, law, and the media.  Through presenting dynamic events and contributing to the General Book Fund, the Young Lions are integral to the life of the Library and its future. Information about the Young Lions group, including events and forums, is available online at or phone 212-930-0885.

About The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at

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