Brooklyn Literary Prize Shortlist

Brooklyn Literary Prize

Brooklyn Literary Prize Shortlist

Boerum Hill
Brooklyn Heights
Carroll Gardens
Cobble Hill
Park Slope
Red Hook
Beyond South Brooklyn

Each year the Brooklyn Public Library, in collaboration with the Brooklyn Eagles, recognizes outstanding works of nonfiction and fiction with the Brooklyn Literary Prize given in the fall.

With this year’s prize, the BPL will highlight books which—by subverting literary forms, pushing against established ways of thinking, or otherwise introducing new or challenging ideas—speak to the Library’s ideals. This will connect the prize to the Library’s mission to create a welcoming environment in which all members of the borough’s diverse community—one of the most socially and culturally complex in the country—can come together to contemplate urgent social, political and artistic questions.

BPL librarians have always played a central role in determining the prize winners, and their voices will be amplified even more this year. The nominees and longlists were selected by a committee of librarians, and the shortlists were determined by two panels comprised of librarians from branches across the borough. Librarians also serve alongside prominent authors and cultural leaders to determine the two winners, who each receive $5,000.

The 2017 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize shortlist includes a novel, a book-length poem, a collection of short stories, and three works of nonfiction.

2017 Brooklyn Literary Prize Shortlist


Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Doubleday)

Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics by Kim Phillips-Fein (Metropolitan Books)

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (Liveright Publishing)

Fiction & Poetry

Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead Books)

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories by Lesley Nneka Arimah (Riverhead Books)

IRL by Tommy Pico (Birds, LLC)

In addition to BPL librarians, members of the shortlist jury include: poet, National Book Award finalist, and MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine; novelist, art critic, and international lecturer on psychoanalysis and neuroscience Siri Hustvedt; Shakespeare scholar and award-winning Columbia University professor James Shapiro; philosopher Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research and moderator of "The Stone" at the New York Times; novelist Téa Obreht, 2011 National Book Award finalist and winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction; novelist Imbolo Mbue, winner of the 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction; Anderson Tepper, editor at Vanity Fair and co-chair of the international committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival; and eminent queer theorist and Columbia University professor Jack Halberstam.

The winners will be celebrated at the Brooklyn Classic, an annual cocktail benefit presented by the Brooklyn Eagles that celebrates and raises funds for the Brooklyn Public Library each fall. This year's Brooklyn Classic will be held on Friday, November 3, 2017, from 8 to 11:30 pm at the Park Slope branch library. The past winners include Idra Novey, Mary E. Buser, Atticus Lish and D.W. Gibson.