Fall for the Book Announces the New American Voices Award First-Ever Longlist

In the United States, the voices of immigrants continue to tell the complex and ever-changing story of this nation. That’s why Fall for the Book and George Mason’s Institute for Immigration Research are proud to celebrate the sixth New American Voices Award–a post-publication book prize recognizing the work of first-generation American writers. This year, for the first time, judges Chinelo Okparanta, born and raised in Nigeria, Cleyvis Natera, born in the Dominican Republic, and Sofia Ali-Khan, the daughter of Pakistani immigrants, have decided to release a longlist.

“This year’s submissions accomplish innovative and ambitious projects successfully,” said the judges. “As authors and readers ourselves, we know how longlist recognition can affirm writers’ understanding of their own contributions and make readers aware of the extraordinary works available to them. For the reasons mentioned, we have curated a longlist of ten remarkable works submitted to the 2023 New American Voices Award competition. These ten books address both contemporary and historical issues, delving deeply into the complexities of what it means to be a person or a community in transit, possibly displaced, or establishing a new home across this vast land. We’d like to offer our heartfelt congratulations to the authors of each of these ten books for so bravely enriching the field of new American voices.”

The ten books celebrated on the New American Voices Award Longlist are:

  • Between Two Moons by Aisha Abdel Gawad (Doubleday)
  • Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Pantheon)
  • Creep: Accusations and Confessions by Myriam Gurba (Avid Reader Press)
  • The Great Reclamation by Rachel Heng (Riverhead)
  • The Islands by Dionne Irving (Catapult)
  • Happiness Falls by Angie Kim (Hogarth)
  • What Napoleon Could Not Do by DK Nnuro (Riverhead)
  • The Middle Daughter by Chika Unigwe (Dzanc Books)
  • The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese (Grove Atlantic)
  • Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City by Jane Wong (Tin House)

The three finalists will be announced later this summer, and they will join the judges for an award ceremony and reading to discuss their work. The event will be hosted by Fall for the Book during our October festival at George Mason University’s Fairfax, VA Campus. Previous winners of the New American Voices Award are: Hernan Diaz’s In the Distance, Melissa Rivero’s The Affairs of the Falcóns, Lysley Tenorio’s The Son of Good Fortune, Patricia Engel’s  Infinite Country, and Sindya Bhanoo’s Seeking Fortune Elsewhere

About the Judges

Sofia Ali-Khan is a social justice lawyer turned writer/storyteller. Her first book of creative nonfiction, A Good Country: My Life in Twelve Towns and the Devastating Battle for a White America was published by Random House in July, 2022. Her writing at the intersection of politics, race, history, and Muslim America has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine,  among other publications.

Cleyvis Natera is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Neruda on the Park. Her fiction, essays and criticisms have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, URSA Story, TIME, Alien Nation: 36 True Tales of Immigration, Gagosian Quarterly, The Brooklyn Rail, The Rumpus, The Washington Post, Memorious, The Kenyon Review, Aster(ix) and Kweli Journal, among other publications.

Chinelo Okparanta was born and raised in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Her debut short story collection, Happiness, Like Water, was nominated for the Nigerian Writers Award, long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, as well as the Etisalat Prize for Literature. Her first novel, Under the Udala Trees, was nominated for numerous awards, including the Kirkus Prize and Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

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