Can we advocate for a five-way tie, please? On Wednesday afternoon, the NYPL announced the finalists of the 2014 Young Lions Fiction Awards with a delightful in-library photo, and oh, how pleased we are with what we see. From top down in the pic, the names on the list — a mix of novels and short stories — are:
- A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
(We've spent some quality time with most of these works, as you can see.)
The New York Public Library's Young Lions Prize is a $10,000 award that gets handed out each spring to an author who, at age 35 or younger, has written a novel or short story collection that's simply killed it. The prize has been going since 2001, and has honored writers such as Karen Russell, Colson Whitehead, Wells Tower, and, last year, Claire Vaye Watkins for Battleborn. The newest recipient will be in some esteemed company.
Speaking of which, who's the frontrunner? Hard to tell. First-time author Marra just received a nod from the NBCC committee a couple weeks ago snagging the first-ever John Leonard prize for a debut work, so he's riding some momentum. Then there's the quiet power of Yoon's slim volume, which can't be ignored, nor can anyone forget the organic buzz that Bell's novel created as he pulled off an insanely difficult to execute book. The two women nominated represent two totally different ends of the storytelling spectrum, which both make them contenders, as well; Okaparanta with her composed, beautifully rendered short stories that demonstrate a masterful command of language and form; and DuBois, whose Cartwheel draws out suspense over nearly 400 pages.
Have a favorite? Fight it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YoungLionsFictionAward.