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Authors To Read from Their Works in A Special Event on October 26

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) announced the shortlist for the 2023 Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize for fiction and nonfiction. The prize honors books which exemplify the spirit of Brooklyn and support the Library’s mission to foster conversations about the social, political, and artistic issues of our time.

The nominees for the prize are selected by staff and librarians who have extensive knowledge of both contemporary writing and of Brooklyn’s literary community, including patrons at BPL’s 62 locations across the borough. 

“From exceptional reporting to creative storytelling, the writers on the short list challenge readers to consider all they know about faith, family and identity. We are delighted to recognize this exceptional group of novelists, memoirists, journalists and poets and to include their work in our collection for all to enjoy,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library.

The list includes a debut novel, a book of poems, a memoir, and a stunning journalistic investigation. And in each category, the writers tackle a wide range of both contemporary and timeless issues—including immigration, racism and gender bias, family, grief, art, and love. 

In the fiction category, a young man—part Mexican, part Native American—is learning, amid unbelievable odds, to find strength in his familial identity. A successful novelist may not be who she seems. And a widow, wandering around New York when the book begins, opens a Pandora’s box in her grief, taking readers along on an adventure through history.

In the nonfiction category, a queer Muslim writer shares her story as she moves from Africa to the Middle East and later to New York. In both humorous and poignant verses, a poet considers what happens when the people you rely on need rescuing themselves. A journalist explores the toll racism has on medical care and why even today Black people “live sicker and die quicker.”

“The Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize honors our universal love for reading and storytelling, and the shortlist represents a literary journey with diverse voices and compelling narratives that we are proud to highlight every year. Our selections celebrate the power of words and imagination that we hope resonate with our readers long after they turned the last page,” said Librarian Nurys Pimentel, Chair, BPL Book Prize Fiction Committee.

Shortlist authors will be in conversation with BPL Librarian and Prize Chair, Jess Harwick, on October 26 at Central Library. To learn more and to register, click here.

The Brooklyn Public Library Book 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.

Fiction Shortlist
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 

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

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

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

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 2.6 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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