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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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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The Restaurant Business

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In this video, Halle Butler reads her short story “The Restaurant Business” alongside her illustrations at the Brain Frame performative comics and zine series in Chicago. Butler is the author of the debut novel, Jillian (Curbside Splendor, 2015), and a 2017 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree.

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Carrie Brownstein

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"As readers we can't simply witness or observe a book from afar—we have to live inside it, we have to go through it, and every time we do, we expand a version of our own lives." Carrie Brownstein talks about the relationship between readers, books, and writers in her introduction to the 2013 National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 ceremony. Brownstein's debut memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl (Riverhead Books, 2015), is featured in Page One in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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