Center For Fiction First Novel Prize Shortlist Is Out!

By: Brandon Williams, September 30th, 2022 5:09 pm.

The nominees for the Center for Fiction 2022 First Novel Prize are out! Seven debut titles were shortlisted from a longlist of twenty-four.

In order to be eligible for this award, the novel has to have a U.S. publication date between January 1st, 2022 and December 31st, 2022. The judges include Matt Bell, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Megha Majumdar, Rebecca Makkai, and Chigozie Obioma.

The First Novel Prize comes with a $15,000 cash prize, but it is not a winner-takes-all scenario. Each of the other shortlisted authors will also receive $1,000.

The shortlist is as follows:

  • Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades
  • The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
  • NSFW by Isabel Kaplan
  • If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga
  • Little Rabbit by Alyssa Songsiridej
  • Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan
  • The Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara

Congratulations to all seven!

The winner will be announced Tuesday, December 6th in New York City at The Center for Fiction Annual Awards Benefit. There will also be an event called the First Novel Fête on Friday, December 2nd to celebrate all seven of the shortlisted authors.

The First Novel Prize goes back to 2006, created the celebrate the best debuts in fiction each year. Past winners include Marisha Pessl, Junot Diaz, Hannah Tinti, John Pipkin, Bonnie Nadzam, Ben Fountain, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Tommy Orange, and more.

The Center for Fiction itself goes back all the way to 1820 when it was founded as the New York Mercantile Library. It has been known as The Center for Fiction since 2005. They have three other awards – The Fadiman Medal (for a living American author who deserves wider recognition); The Christopher Doheny Award (an author who has written about a serious illness from which they have personal experience); and The Maxwell E. Perkins Award (lifetime achievement award to an editor, publisher or agent who has helped discover, nurture and champion authors).

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