Announcing the Winner of the 2024 Young Lions Fiction Award

By NYPL Staff
June 13, 2024
Cover of The Liberators alongside headshot of author E.J. Koh

Photo: Adam K. Glaser

The New York Public Library is proud to announce that E.J. Koh has won the 24th annual Young Lions Fiction Award for her book The Liberators (Tin House.)

Koh’s debut work of fiction, The Liberators, transverses two continents and spans over four generations. It captures the profound impact of love and war on two Korean families. The novel delicately weaves together a tale of memory, trauma, and empathy, revealing the enduring consequences of inherited choices. It stands as a powerful testament to the fortunes and burdens of legacy.

This year's finalists, all available to borrow with a library card or purchase from the Library Shop, were:

About the Young Lions Fiction Award

Making its debut in 2001, the Young Lions Fiction Award is given each year to an American writer age 35 or younger for either a novel or a collection of short stories. Five young fiction writers are selected as finalists by a committee of writers, editors, and librarians. A panel of award judges will select the winner of this year’s $10,000 prize. This year’s judges are A. M. Homes, Caoilinn Hughes, and last year’s winner, Zain Khalid.

Past winners of the Young Lions Fiction Award include last year’s winner Zain Khalid for Brother Alive; Kalani Pickhart for I Will Die in a Foreign Land; Catherine Lacey for Pew; Bryan Washington for Lot; Ling Ma for Severance. Past nominees have included Alexanda Kleeman for Something New Under the Sun; Brandon Taylor for Real Life; Kiley Reid for Such a Fun Age; Brit Bennett for The Mothers; Jesmyn Ward for Salvage the Bones; Teju Cole for Open City; and Julia Phillips for Disappearing Earth.

The New York Public Library 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, Hannah and Gavin McFarland, Ethan Hawke, Stephan Loewentheil, Rick Moody, Andrea Olshan and Jennifer Rudolph Walsh.

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 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 is available online at or by phone 212-930-0968.

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