Catherine Lacey Wins The New York Public Library’s 2021 Young Lions Fiction Award

June 17, 2021 The New York Public Library is proud to announce that Catherine Lacey has won the twenty-first annual Young Lions Fiction Award for her book Pew.  This years finalists were:

  • Meng Jin for Little Gods;

  • Catherine Lacey for Pew;

  • Hilary Leichter for Temporary

  • Brandon Taylor for Real Life;

  • C Pam Zhang for How Much of These Hills Is Gold.

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 selected the winner of this year’s $10,000 prize. This year’s judges are Hernan Diaz, Emma Straub, and Yahdon Israel. 

"Just as Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man challenged us to interrogate who we see as it pertains to race, Catherine Lacey's Pew challenges us to interrogate what we see when it pertains to sex and gender. Consistent in both works is their ingenuity in utilizing fiction to avert the question away from the observed to the observer" said Yahdon Israel.  

The winner was announced during a virtual event on Thursday June 17. For more details about the Fiction Award and the Young Lions visit
Past winners of the Young Lions Fiction Award include:

Last year’s winner Bryan Washington, Lot; Lesley Nneka Arimah, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky; Salvatore Scibona, The End; Olga Grushin, The Dream Life of Sukhanov; and Karen Russell, Swamplandia!. Past nominees have included: Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones; Patricia Engel, Vida; Chinelo Okparanta, Happiness, Like Water; Teju Cole, Open City; and Teddy Wayne, Kapitoil.

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.

Press Contact: Bobby Sherwood,

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 212-930-0885.

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 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 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