The National Book Foundation has announced its 2016 5 Under 35 honorees. 5 Under 35, now in its eleventh year, honors five debut fiction writers under the age of 35 whose work promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape. Each year, 5 Under 35 honorees are selected by National Book Award Winners and Finalists, as well as by writers previously recognized by the 5 Under 35 program.
The 2016 5 Under 35 honorees will be celebrated at an invitation-only ceremony on November 14, 2016. 5 Under 35 is sponsored by the Amazon Literary Partnership. Each honoree will receive a $1,000 prize.
Images from the 2016 5 Under 35 Celebration
The 2016 5 Under 35 Honorees Are:
Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers (Riverhead / Penguin Random House)
Selected by Jacqueline Woodson, 2014 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature and longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction
Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing (Knopf / Penguin Random House)
Selected by Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2015 National Book Award Winner for Nonfiction
Greg Jackson, author of Prodigals (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / Macmillan)
Selected by Lauren Groff, 2015 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction
S. Li, author of Transoceanic Lights (Harvard Square Editions)
Selected by Karen Bender, 2015 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction
Thomas Pierce, author of Hall of Small Mammals (Riverhead / Penguin Random House)
Selected by Amity Gaige, 2006 5 Under 35 honoree
B.J. Novak, Host
B.J. Novak is perhaps best known for his work on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning comedy series The Office as an actor, writer, director, and executive producer. He is also known for his work as a standup comedian and for his performances in programs such as HBO's The Newsroom and films such as Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks. He will next appear in The Founder alongside Michael Keaton.
Novak’s acclaimed collection of short stories, One More Thing, was an immediate New York Times Best Seller in 2014, and was excerpted in The New Yorker and on This American Life. His children’s book, The Book With No Pictures, has spent over one hundred weeks on The New York Times Best Sellers list, including 35 weeks at #1, and currently has over a million copies in print in 26 languages.
Novak is also the co-founder and chairman of li.st, which launched in October 2015.
Ben Greenman, Emcee
Ben Greenman is a New York Times-bestselling author who has written both fiction and nonfiction. He is the author of several acclaimed works of fiction, including the short story collections What He’s Poised to Doand Superbad and the novels Please Step Back and The Slippage. He is the co-author of Mo' Meta Blues (with Questlove), Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You? (with George Clinton), I Am Brian Wilson (with Brian Wilson), and more. His last book was Emotional Rescue, a collection of music essays; his next will be Dig If You Will The Picture, a meditation on the life and career of Prince.
The 2016 5 Under 35 Selection committee:
Karen Bender’s short story collection Refund was a finalist for the National Book Award, shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Story Prize, and longlisted for the Story Prize. She is the author of the novels A Town of Empty Rooms and Like Normal People. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, Story, The Harvard Review, The Iowa Review, Guernica, and other magazines. Her stories have been anthologized in TheBest American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, and have won two Pushcart prizes.
Ta-Nehisi Coates won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction for Between the Worldand Me. He is a National Correspondent for The Atlantic, theauthor of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle,and the writer for Marvel Comics’ Black Panther series. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story, “The Case for Reparations.”
Amity Gaige was recognized as a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree in 2006. She is the author of three novels, O My Darling, The Folded World, and Schroder, which was shortlisted for The Folio Prize in 2014. Schroderwas named one of Best Books of 2013 by Kirkus,The New York Times Book Review, The Huffington Post, TheWashington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly, among others. Gaige is the winner of a Fulbright Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, fellowships at the MacDowell and Yaddo colonies, and a Baltic Writing Residency. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications such as the Literary Review, The Guardian,The New York Times, The Yale Review, One Story, and elsewhere.
Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies was a finalist in 2015 for the National Book Award for Fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kirkus Award. It won the 2015 American Booksellers’ Association Indies’ Choice Award for Fiction, was a New York Times Notable book and Bestseller, Amazon.com’s #1 book of 2015, and on over two dozen best-of 2015 lists. She is the author of the novels Monsters of Templeton, shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers; Delicate Edible Birds, a collection of stories; and Arcadia, a New YorkTimes Notable Book, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize, and finalist for the Los AngelesTimes Book Award.
Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn is on the 2016 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction. She won the2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for her New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, the NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award. The Poetry Foundation recently named Woodson the Young People’s Poet Laureate. She is the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a three-time National Book Award Finalist, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner.