Author Paul Yoon wins 2014 Young Lions Fiction Award for Snow Hunters

Novelist awarded top prize for writers under 35 at June 9th ceremony

June 16—Writer Paul Yoon received the New York Public Library’s 2014 Young Lions Fiction Award at a ceremony at the Library’s landmark building on June 9, 2014. 

Yoon, a native of New York City, won the prestigious award for his novel, Snow Hunters, published by Simon & Schuster in August 2013. Snow Hunters traces the extraordinary journey of Yohan, who defects from his country at the end of the Korean War, leaving his friends and family behind to seek a new life on the coast of Brazil. A heartrending story of second chances told with unerring elegance and tenderness, the book has garnered accolades from the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the L.A. Times.                                                                                                                                                                                 

The Young Lions Fiction Award is given annually to a 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. This year’s judges were NYPL’s Cullman Fellow Téa Obreht and authors Colm Tóibín and Claire Vaye Watkins. Watkins won last year’s prize for her book, Battleborn.  

Along with Yoon, this year’s finalists included the following brilliant writers: 

Matt Bell, In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods

Jennifer duBois, Cartwheel

Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Chinelo Okparanta, Happiness, Like Water

Further highlighting the night were readings of the finalists’ books by Boardwalk Empire cast members Kelly MacDonald, Gretchen Mol, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Michael Kenneth Williams; author Sloane Crosley and Boardwalk actor Vincent Piazza served as co-hosts.                                                                

Winners from previous years include: Karen Russell, Swamplandia!; Wells Tower, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned; Salvatore Scibona, The End; 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 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, Hannah and Gavin McFarland, Ethan Hawke, Stephan Loewentheil, Rick Moody, Andrea Olshan and Jennifer Rudolph Walsh.

About The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 91 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at