The 2012 "5 Under 35" Honorees

For the past seven years The National Book Foundation has honored five young fiction writers with its "5 Under 35" award. The recognition of the authors as rising stars in the world of books far outreaches the nominal $1000 monetary award. This year's five honorees have just been announced - each of them nominated by a previous National Book Award winner or finalist. Here are this year's 5 Under 5 honorees, with links to more about them and their books:

Battleborn Claire Vaye Watkins, Battleborn, selected by Julie Otsuka, Fiction Finalist for The Buddha in the Attic, 2011

"Most of the stories in Claire Vaye Watkins's debut story collection, Battleborn, take place in the arid setting of Nevada. Both the cities and the desert are equally, if differently, inhospitable to the lonely, often damaged people who populate the pages of her stories. In this desolate environment, people can see trouble coming from miles away. And trouble seems to find them, whether in the form of overt threats or suppressed bad memories and ancient demons." - reviewed by Norah Piehl for BookBrowse.


Vaclav & LenaHaley Tanner, Vaclav and Lena, Selected by Téa Obreht, Fiction Finalist for The Tiger's Wife, 2011, and 5 Under 35 Honoree, 2010

"I have fallen in love with Vaclav & Lena. I say this not for a lack of something more insightful, but because Haley Tanner's debut novel is simply so lovable. Her characters, quirky and vivid, are presented with the right mix of vulnerability and spunkiness, which quickly endears them to the reader. Upon finishing the novel, I was left feeling as though I had met good people - all flawed in some way and all full of good intentions." - reviewed by Elizabeth Whitmore Funk for BookBrowse




A Partial History of Lost CausesJennifer duBois, A Partial History of Lost Causes. Selected by Andrew Krivak, Fiction Finalist for The Sojourn, 2011

This is one of the freshest and most imaginative debuts I've read lately, approached with grace and thoughtfulness. Jennier DuBois writes with a hard-won maturity as her characters tackle that all-important question of why we keep playing if we know we cannot win. It's an achievement." - Reviewed by Jill S. for BookBrowse






We the AnimalsJustin Torres, We the Animals, selected by Jessica Hagedorn, Fiction Finalist for Dogeaters, 1990

"In punchy, energized language, the narrator of this dark and affecting little book relates life with his two brothers and their too young, just-making-it parents ... highly recommended." - Library Journal






The Book of Life Stuart Nadler, The Book of Life, selected by Edith Pearlman, Fiction Finalist for Binocular Vision, 2011

"The unexpected can change people, but they survive, leaving readers with a sense of hope. With this collection, Nadler demonstrates a fine understanding of the human psyche." - Publishers Weekly





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