Kalani Pickhart Wins the New York Public Library’s 2022 Young Lions Fiction Award


Robert Sherwood, robertsherwood@nypl.org


Author headshots and book cover images here.

June 16, 2022 The New York Public Library is proud to announce that Kalani Pickhart has won the 2022 Young Lions Fiction Award for her book I Will Die in a Foreign Land. The finalists were:

  • Mateo Askaripour for Black Buck 
  • Alexandra Kleeman for Something New Under the Sun;
  • Tom Lin for The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu
  • Dantiel W. Moniz for Milk Blood Heat;
  • Kalani Pickhart for I Will Die in a Foreign Land.

The winner was announced during an award ceremony hosted by actress Jennifer Morrison on June 16 at 7 PM in the Bartos Forum of the Stephen A. Schwarzman building. For more details about the Fiction Award and the Young Lions visit nypl.org/ylfa. The books are available for purchase at shop.nypl.org

"Political leaders often behave as if they have no idea what a human life even is, as if none of them had mothers or know the sound of a piano or remember the weight of one hand in another. Kalani Pickhart's I Will Die in a Foreign Land is a wild and prismatic refutation of that tragedy--the ongoing disaster of greed and domination and war," said Catherine Lacey, a judge in this year’s contest, and winner of the 2021 Young Lions Fiction Award for her book Pew.

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 Venita Blackburn, Jonas Hassen Khemiri, and Catherine Lacey. 

Past winners of the Young Lions Fiction Award include:

Last year’s winner Catherine Lacey, Pew; Claire Vaye Watkins, Battleborn; Ling Ma, Severance; Molly Antopol, The UnAmericans; and Bryan Washington, Lot. Past nominees have included: Kiley Reid, Such a Fun Age; Nick Drnaso, Sabrina; Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones; C Pam Zhang, How Much of These Hills is Gold; and Julia Phillips, Disappearing Earth.

The New York Public Library's 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.

Additional information about the finalists:

Mateo Askaripour, New York Times bestselling author, aims to empower people of color to seize opportunities for advancement, no matter the obstacle. His first novel, Black Buck, takes on racism in corporate America with humor and wit. Askaripour was chosen as one of Entertainment Weekly’s “10 rising stars to make waves,” and Black Buckwas a Read With Jenna Today Show book club pick. He lives in Brooklyn. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @AskMateo.

Alexandra Kleeman is the author of Intimations, a short story collection, and the novels You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine and Something New Under the Sun, both New York Times Editors’ Choices. Something New Under the Sun was longlisted for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize and named a best book of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Time, Los Angeles Times, among other publications. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorkerand The Paris Review, and her writing has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, Tin House, n+1, and The Guardian. She was recently awarded a 2022 Guggenheim Fellowship, was a Rome Prize Literature Fellow at the American Academy in Rome, and the winner of the Berlin Prize and the Bard Fiction Prize. She lives in Staten Island and teaches at the New School.

Tom Lin was born in China and immigrated to the United States when he was four. A graduate of Pomona College, he is currently in the PhD program at the University of California, Davis. The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsuis his first novel.

Dantiel W. Moniz  is the recipient of a National Book Foundation “5 under 35” Award, a Pushcart Prize, a MacDowell Fellowship, and the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction. Her work has appeared in the Paris Review, Harper’s Bazaar, American Short Fiction, Tin House, and elsewhere. Moniz is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches fiction.

Kalani Pickhart is the author of I Will Die in a Foreign Land, which has received praise from CBS News, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, and more. The novel is long-listed for the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award, and was named one of the New York Public Library's "Best Books for Adults" of 2021. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, TriQuarterly Review, and elsewhere. 

Kalani was selected as an inaugural 2022 New Voices Literary Fellow for the Sun Valley Writers' Conference and has been the recipient of fellowships from the Virginia G. Piper Center and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Intelligence for Eastern European and Eurasian Studies. 

Kalani currently lives and writes in Phoenix, Arizona.

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 www.nypl.org/joinyl or by phone 212-930-0885.

About The New York Public Library

For over 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 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 receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. 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 www.nypl.org/support.

The 2022 Young Lions Fiction Award is presented in part by Chandon.