New American Voices Award

Institute for Immigration Research
New American Voices Award

Founded in 2018, Fall for the Book and the Institute for Immigration Research created an award to recognize recently published works that illuminate the complexity of the human experience as told by immigrants, whose work is historically underrepresented in writing and publishing.

Three jurors will judge all entries for the 2023 New American Voices Award and choose three finalists and then award the prize to one. Finalists will be announced in summer 2023 and all three finalists and the judges will appear at the Fall for the Book festival in October 2023 for the fifth annual presentation and read from and discuss their work. The winning writer will receive $5,000 and the two finalists each will receive $1,000. 

If America is a country of immigrants as it is often described, then the quintessential American literature would be the literature of immigration... Hopefully these new voices will make us step back and look at ourselves with new eyes, and new hope and new meaning.
Helon Habila
2018 Judge

Award News

6th Annual New American Voices Award Finalists Announced

Rachel Heng’s The Great Reclamation, Angie Kim’s Happiness Falls, and DK Nnuro’s What Napoleon Could Not Do have been named finalists for the Institute for Immigration Research’s New American Voices Award. 

6th Annual New American Voices Award Longlist Announced

“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.” – New American Voices Judges

Submission Guidelines

Submit to the Award

  • Starting December 1, 2022, publishers can enter immigrant writers* who have published no more than three books.
  • Entries must be prose: literary fiction or creative nonfiction. Please no journalism, plays, anthologies, or poetry.
  • Eligible books must have been (or will be) published between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023.
  • Four bound copies of the book (galleys/ARCs are acceptable) must be postmarked April 7, 2023 (deadline extended from March 31, 2023) and sent to Kara Oakleaf at 4400 University Drive, MS 3E4, Fairfax, VA 22030, along with a $20 entry fee. Checks can be made out to Fall for the Book, Inc.; entry fee may also be paid online here.
  • While we prefer print copies of the books, if you do not have access to them during this time of social distancing, we will now accept books digitally. Please email them to kara [at] fallforthebookorg

*Writers should be immigrants to the U.S., living in the States. They can be first generation by either definition of the term (born elsewhere and immigrated to the U.S., or born in the states to parents who immigrated to the U.S.) Questions? Contact Kara Oakleaf – kara[@]

Meet 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.

2022 New American Voices Award Winner and Finalists

2022 Winner

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere_9781646220878 (2)

2022 Finalists

The Return of Faraz Ali (1)

Past Winners and Finalists

2021 Winner

Infinite Country - Patricia Engel

2021 Finalists

The Kissing Bug - Daisy Hernandez
Afterparties - Anthony Veasna So

2020 Winner

The Son of Good Fortune - Lysley Tenorio -

2020 Finalists

Deceit and Other Possibilities - Vanessa Hua
Little Family - Ishmael Beah

2019 Winner

The Affairs of the Flacons - Melissa Rivero

2019 Finalists

The Kinship of Secrets - Eugenia Kim
Miracle Creek - Angie Kim

2018 Winner

In the Distance - Hernan Diaz

2018 Finalists

The Hour of Daydreams - Renee Macalino Rutledge
The Immigrant's Refrigerator -Elena Georgiou
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