Akwaeke Emezi

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“She wasn’t sure if we were real, but nothing about us felt false.” Akwaeke Emezi, a 2018 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree nominated by Carmen Maria Machado, reads from their debut novel, Freshwater (Grove Press, 2018). The novel has been longlisted for the 2019 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

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Sigrid Nunez’s National Book Award Speech

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“I became a writer not because I was seeking community but rather because I thought it would be something I could do alone and hidden in the privacy of my own room,” says Sigrid Nunez in her acceptance speech for the 2018 National Book Award in fiction, which she won for her seventh novel, The Friend (Riverhead Books, 2018). “How lucky to have discovered that writing books made the miraculous possible: to be removed from the world and to be a part of the world at the same time.”

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Jenny Xie

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“My frugal mouth spends the only foreign words it owns. / At present, on this sleeper train, there’s nowhere to arrive.” Jenny Xie, a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in poetry, reads “Rootless” and “Ongoing” from her debut poetry collection, Eye Level (Graywolf Press, 2018). Xie is featured in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Justin Phillip Reed

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“We live on the unanswerable, assert / that acknowledgment is inartistic, / history is regressive, and aggression / looks like no one we know…” Justin Phillip Reed reads from his debut poetry collection, Indecency (Coffee House Press, 2018), for which he won the 2018 National Book Award in poetry. Reed is featured in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Diana Khoi Nguyen

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“What may exist between appearance, and disappearance, between sound and silence, as something that is nearly nothing…” Diana Khoi Nguyen, a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in poetry, reads from her debut poetry collection, Ghost Of (Omnidawn Publishing, 2018). Nguyen is featured in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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National Book Awards Finalists at the Library

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In this video from the New York Public Library, 2018 National Book Awards finalists, including Rebecca Makkai, Hanne Ørstavik, and Jeffrey C. Stewart, sit down to answer questions about their favorite books and which fictional character they’d want to hang out with.

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

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“Then, before you’re gone, you know that all that’s ever been will still be, even if there are no tomorrows.” Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, a 2018 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree nominated by Colson Whitehead, reads the last page of his story “Through the Flash” from his debut story collection, Friday Black (Mariner Books, 2018).

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The Golden State

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“Mom always went up the mountain and down the valley so I decide that’s what we’ll do too.” Lydia Kiesling, a 2018 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, reads from her debut novel, The Golden State (MCD, 2018), for the ZYZZYVA series at Green Apple Books on the Park in San Francisco.

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Lucie Brock-Broido

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In this 2013 video, Lucie Brock-Broido reads her poem “You Have Harnessed Yourself Ridiculously to This World” from her collection Stay, Illusion (Knopf, 2013), which was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award in poetry. Brock-Broido died on March 6, 2018 at the age of sixty-one.

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