Photo: Mobyblu, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) has announced the longlists for the Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize. Covering a wide range of topics reflecting Brooklyn’s diverse and creative communities, the longlist includes novels, short stories, poetry, memoir, and nonfiction. Librarians and staff reviewed more than 80 books, drawing on their expertise in literature and contemporary writing as well as their knowledge of Brooklyn and its community of avid readers.

“As we witness an alarming increase in the number of book bans, I am especially honored to highlight and celebrate the writers who continue to take the risk of putting pen to paper. Through stories about immigration, race, and gender, the 24 talented longlist nominees aptly reflect the diversity of Brooklyn and our nation, and we are delighted to add their work to our collection,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library.

In the fiction category, a debut novelist tells the stories of three generations of East New Yorkers as they struggle to pay the rent and find their way in the world amid a devastating loss. In another debut novel, we gain entry into a secret world where books are food and those who eat them, retain the knowledge on the pages after consumption. The imaginative writers in this category also introduce us to a marine biologist and a hyper-intelligent octopus, a family of serial killers in the Old West, and merchant ship cook who prefers the sea to suburbia.

In the nonfiction category, a poet considers how fatherhood changed his view of the world. A journalist introduces us to a forgotten immigrant woman and amateur surgeon who provided abortions in Victorian-era New York. A disability activist shares her extraordinary life in a new memoir. We learn about shocking racial disparities in health care and meet 31 New Yorkers who helped define the city, including Brooklyn’s own Carmelia Goffe, a housing advocate who help revive the neighborhoods near Brownsville Library.

“With books ranging from fantasy to memoir to poetry and beyond, the selection committees have created a list with something for everyone. These books tell the stories of a diverse range of experiences and ask their readers to consider the world from many perspectives. Together, they remind us that reading can be playful, insightful, and challenging all at the same time. We are thrilled to be able to recognize so many exciting books that we hope will resonate with readers all over Brooklyn,” said Librarian Jess Harwick, BPL Book Prize Chair.

The Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize was first established in collaboration with the Brooklyn Eagles, a group of young and engaged Brooklynites who are passionate about Brooklyn Public Library, working to engage new patrons, promote the Library as a cultural center, and build a vibrant community around the resources the library offers. The shortlist nominees will be announced this fall with the final winners named in November.


Alphabetical by author’s last name

Fiction Longlist

Boulder by Eva Baltasar
And Other Stories

Big Swiss by Jen Beagin

All the Blood We Share by Camilla Bruce

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
Tor Books

If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery

Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
William Morrow

Biography of X by Catherine Lacey
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 

When We Were Bright and Beautiful by Jillian Medoff

The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler

Symphony of Secrets 
by Brendan Slocumb

We Are a Haunting by Tyriek White
Astra Publishing

Nonfiction Longlist

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton
Drawn and Quarterly

Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency by Chen Chen
BOA Editions, LTD

A Living Remedy: A Memoir by Nicole Chung

On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe by Caroline Dodds Pennock

Hijab Butch Blues: A Memoir by Lamya H
The Dial Press

Muse Found in a Colonized Body by Yesenia Montilla
Four Way Books

The New Yorkers: 31 Remarkable People, 400 Years, and the Untold Biography of the World’s Greatest City by Sam Roberts
Bloomsbury Publishing

Above Ground by Clint Smith
Little, Brown and Company

Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation by Linda Villarosa

Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life by Alice Wong

Madame Restell: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Old New York’s Most Fabulous, Fearless, and Infamous Abortionist by Jennifer Wright
Hachette Books

From From: Poems by Monica Youn

About Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems and among New York City’s most democratic institutions. As a leader in developing modern 21st century libraries, we provide resources to support personal advancement, foster civic literacy, and strengthen the fabric of community among the more than 2.7 million individuals who call Brooklyn home. We provide nearly 65,000 free programs a year with writers, thinkers, artists, and educators—from around the corner and around the world. And we give patrons millions of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the joy of a good book.

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