National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 2013
The National Book Awards Week opened last Monday night with 5 Under 35 at the powerHOUSE Arena in DUMBO, Brooklyn. The event, now in its eighth year, honors five young fiction writers selected by past National Book Award winners and finalists. This year’s authors include: Molly Antopol (The UnAmericans, selected by Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones), NoViolet Bulawayo (We Need New Names, selected by Junot Diaz, This is How You Lose Her), Amanda Coplin (The Orchardist, selected by Louise Erdrich, The Round House), Daisy Hildyard (Hunters in the Snow, selected by Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds) and Merritt Tierce (Love Me Back, selected by Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk).
To kick off the evening at the massive powerHOUSE, which acts as a bookstore during normal business hours, McArthur fellowship grant winning author, Colson Whitehead, DJ’d while arriving guests enjoyed free drinks and Mexican cuisine from the popular food truck Calexico. At around 7.45pm the lights dimmed and Portlandia-star and host for the evening, Carrie Brownstein, took to the stage. Her introduction focused on the joys and pains of being a writer, time spent in Brooklyn and Portland, life in rock group Sleater-Kinney, and pride that the honorees of the evening were (for the first time) all female. Fiona Maazel, author of Last Last Chance and Woke Up Lonely, briefly introduced each author as they joined her on stage to read a selection from their respective work. For the following 45 minutes, there was a panel discussion and Q&A with the audience, which covered how each of the authors became a writer, if fame has influenced them or their work negatively or positively, the artistic process and routine, and their favorite word in the English language.
To conclude the evening, the five authors gave brief interviews to the press while guests could continue to enjoy the music, free drinks and food, and photo booth images by Photo Booth Party. Even though 5 Under 35 is considered the junior version of the National Book Awards, if the large audience attendance and excerpts read last night are any indication of literary popularity, it will not be long before these authors take center stage.
For further information about 5 Under 35 and future events visit here.