The National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 Honorees

Erin Kodicek on September 25, 2018

One of our favorite things about the best books program is introducing readers to first-time authors whose work knocked our literary socks off. The National Book Foundation has the same idea with its 5 Under 35 program. The honorees are writers from across the globe, under the age of 35, who have published a debut novel or fiction collection in the last five years. Most importantly, their work must be something that "promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape."

Chosen by previous National Book Award winners, finalists, longlisted authors, or writers previously recognized by the 5 Under 35 program, this year's honorees were singled out for their deft handling of "issues of race, cultural identity, loyalty, displacement and more."

Congratulations to these five authors, who will collect a $1,000 prize at a ceremony on Nov. 12.

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Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Selector: Colson Whitehead, 2016 National Book Award Winner for Fiction

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Sonora by Hannah Lillith Assadi

Selector: Claire Vaye Watkins, 2012 5 Under 35 honoree

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Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Selector: Carmen Maria Machado, 2017 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction

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The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling

Selector: Samantha Hunt, 2006 5 Under 35 honoree

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Sadness Is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Selector: Bill Clegg, 2015 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction

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