Brooklyn Public Library announces dynamic works for 2022 book prizes

Selected books include fiction, nonfiction, poetry and more

August 22, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
Central Branch library
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Brooklyn Public Library on Monday announced the “longlists” for the 2022 Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize for fiction and nonfiction/poetry, recognizing writing that exemplifies the spirit of Brooklyn. 

The prize is selected by librarians and staff and draws on their broad knowledge of literature and contemporary writing and the deep relationships they have with patrons in every neighborhood of the borough.

“The 24 titles which comprise the 2022 Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize represent the brightest and most evocative writers working today including the voices of those who have, for too long, been overlooked,” said Linda E. Johnson, president and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “From short stories to poetry, from novels to nonfiction, the selections here—connected to the borough by author, subject matter or theme—embody the library’s mission to spark meaningful conversation about the urgent social and political issues of our time.”

Comprised of a wide range of voices, the long list includes debut authors, women, non-binary and bi-gender writers and features essays, novels, memoirs, nonfiction and three books of poetry. The selections also cover a wide variety of topics including race, sexuality, immigration, poverty, health care, climate change, art, travel, love and loss.

Brooklyn figures prominently in several of the fiction selections — in Sunset Park, a depressed wedding planner helps clients on the happiest days of their lives. A queer disabled poly protagonist crosses the Brooklyn Bridge on her bicycle, searching for her first love. Four young men, after a stint in juvenile detention, explore the city’s wonders — the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station and the Brooklyn Bridge — hoping to start life anew.

Stephen Graham Jones, author of “My Heart is a Chainsaw.” Wikimedia photo courtesy of NAJ CO

In the nonfiction category, journalist Andrea Elliott introduces readers to one of the 100,000 homeless school children in New York City and her life in a Brooklyn shelter. Mickey Rowe, an autistic actor, recounts his journey from Seattle to the Broadway stage, while Rajiv Mohabir traces his journey from Florida to New York, by way of Varanasi, India, a sacred Hindu City.

“This year’s nominees reflect a variety of experiences, voices and genres. We are proud to have put together two lists that defy literary conventions, break down barriers and tackle difficult subjects with heart and thoughtfulness. Selected by a group of library workers with different perspectives, we believe that these lists reflect both the interests and concerns of our diverse Brooklyn community,” said librarian Jess Harwick, who chairs the BPL Book prize committee.

The Brooklyn Public Library Book Prize was first established in collaboration with the Brooklyn Eagles, a group of young and engaged Brooklynites who are passionate about the Brooklyn Public Library and work to engage new patrons, promote the library as a cultural center and build a vibrant community around the library’s resources. The shortlist nominees will be announced this fall with the final winners announced in November.

Alphabetical by author last name


When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill



A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Tor Books


What Storm, What Thunder by Myriam J. A. Chancy

Tin House


Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

Flatiron Books/Macmillan


My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

Saga Press


Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel



Panpocalypse by Carley Moore

Feminist Press



Las Biuty Queens by Iván Monalisa Ojeda

Astra House


Kaikeyi by Vaishanvi Patel

Red Hook (Orbit)/Hachette


My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi

Two Dollar Radio


The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles



Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

Tor Books



Nonfiction and Poetry



The Trayvon Generation by Elizabeth Alexander

Grand Central Publishing


¡Hola Papi!: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer

Simon & Schuster


Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott

Random House


Punks: New and Selected Poems by John Keene

Song Cave

The Hurting Kind: Poems by Ada Limón

Milkweed Editions

Cost of Living: Essays by Emily Maloney

Henry Holt and Company


Rajiv Mohabir, author of “Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir.” Wikimedia photo courtesy of Slowking


Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir by Rajiv Mohabir

Restless Books

Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Actor’s Journey to Broadway’s Biggest Stage by Mickey Rowe

Rowman & Littlefield


Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America by Mayukh Sen

W.W. Norton & Company


Customs: Poems by Solmaz Sharif
Graywolf Press


Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World by Daniel Sherrell



How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith

Little, Brown and Company

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