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Provocateurs, Mind Bogglers, and Tragedians: Five Young Literary Talents Chosen as Finalists for The New York Public Library’s 2010 Young Lions Fiction Award

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The New York Public Library has announced the finalists for the tenth annual Young Lions Fiction Award. The award honors the works of young authors carving deep first impressions in the literary world. The winning writer will be awarded a $10,000 prize on June 10, 2010 at a ceremony hosted by Young Lions co-founder and actor Ethan Hawke, held in the Celeste Bartos Forum of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

The finalists for 2010 Young Lions Fiction Award are:

Jedediah Berry, The Manual of Detection (The Penguin Press)
Katie Kitamura, The Longshot (Free Press)
Philipp Meyer, American Rust (Spiegel and Grau)
C.E. Morgan, All the Living (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Wells Tower, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned  (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Actors reading excerpts from the nominated books include Josh Hamilton, Marin Ireland, Emily Mortimer, Alessandro Nivola, and Mark Ruffalo.

The Young Lions Fiction Award is given annually to an American writer age 35 or younger for either a novel or collection of short stories. Each year five young fiction writers are selected as finalists by a reading committee of Young Lions members, writers, editors, and librarians. A panel of award judges, including writers Amy Hempel, Rick Moody, and last year’s winner, Salvatore Scibona (who won for The End), will select the winner of the $10,000 prize. See below for more information about the finalists.

Winners from previous years include: Ron Currie, Jr., God Is Dead; Olga Grushin, The Dream Life of Sukhanov; Uzodinma Iweala, Beasts of No Nation; Monique Truong, Book of Salt; Anthony Doerr, The Shell Collector; Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated; Colson Whitehead, John Henry Days; and Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves.

About the Young Lions
The Young Lions is a membership group for New Yorkers in their 20s and 30s who are committed to supporting the work of the Library. Each season, members enjoy exclusive events that feature young writers and leaders in the arts, politics, business, law, and the media. Through presenting dynamic events and contributing to the General Book Fund, the Young Lions are integral to the life of the Library and its future. Information about the Young Lions group, including events and forums, is available online at www.nypl.org/yl or phone 212-930-0885.

About The New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award
The New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award is a $10,000 prize awarded each spring to a writer age 35 or younger for a novel or a collection of short stories. Established in 2001, this annual award recognizes the work of young authors and celebrates their accomplishments publicly, making a difference in their lives as they continue to build their careers. The Young Lions Fiction Award was founded by Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, Rick Moody, and Hannah McFarland. The Award is made possible by an endowment created with generous gifts from Russell Abrams, Nina Collins, Ethan Hawke, Stephan Loewentheil,
Hannah and Gavin McFarland, Rick Moody, Andrea Olshan, and Jennifer Rudolph Walsh.

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Contact: Jennifer Lam 212.592.7708 or jennifer_lam@nypl.org

Young Lions Fiction Award finalists

The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry
In this tightly plotted yet mind-expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective named Charles Unwin, armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle a string of crimes committed in and through people’s dreams. All he knows about solving mysteries comes from the reports he’s filed for the illustrious detective Travis Sivart. When Sivart goes missing and his supervisor turns up murdered, Unwin is suddenly promoted to detective, a rank for which he lacks both the skills and the stomach.

The Longshot by Katie Kitamura
Cal and his trainer, Riley, are on their way to Mexico for a make-or-break rematch with legendary fighter Rivera. Four years ago, Cal became the only mixed martial arts fighter to take Rivera the distance—but the fight nearly ended him. Only Riley, who has been at his side for the last ten years, knows how much that fight changed things for Cal. And only Riley really knows what's now at stake, for both of them.

Katie Kitamura's debut novel follows Cal and Riley through the three fraught days leading up to this momentous match, as each privately begins to doubt that Cal can win. As the tension builds toward the final electrifying scene, the looming fight becomes every challenge each of us has ever taken on, no matter how uncertain the outcome.

All the Living by C.E. Morgan
Aloma is an orphan, raised by her aunt and uncle, educated at a mission school in the Kentucky mountains. At the start of the novel, she moves to an isolated tobacco farm to be with her lover, a young man named Orren, whose family has died in a car accident, leaving him in charge. The place is rough and quiet; Orren is overworked and withdrawn. Left mostly to her own, Aloma struggles to settle herself in this lonely setting and to find beauty and stimulation where she can. As she decides whether to stay with Orren, she will choose either to fight her way to independence or accept the rigors of commitment.

American Rust by Philipp Meyer
Left alone to care for his aging father after his mother commits suicide and his sister escapes to Yale, Isaac English longs for a life beyond his hometown. But when he finally sets out to leave for good, accompanied by his temperamental best friend, former high school football star Billy Poe, they are caught up in a terrible act of violence that changes their lives forever.

Evoking John Steinbeck’s novels of restless lives during the Great Depression, American Rust takes us into the contemporary American heartland at a moment of profound unrest and uncertainty about the future. It is a dark but lucid vision, a moving novel about the bleak realities that battle our desire for transcendence and the power of love and friendship to redeem us.

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower
Viking marauders descend on a much-plundered island, hoping some mayhem will shake off the winter blahs. A man is booted out of his home after his wife discovers that the print of a bare foot on the inside of his car's windshield doesn't match her own. Teenage cousins, drugged by summer, meet with a reckoning in the woods. A boy runs off to the carnival after his stepfather bites him in a brawl. Wells Tower's version of America is touched with the seamy splendor of the dropout, the misfit: failed inventors, boozy dreamers, hapless fathers, wayward sons.

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