The National Book Foundation unveiled its 5 Under 35 list this morning, and for the first time in the program’s history, all of the honorees are women of color.
The 5 Under 35 program was founded in 2006, and honors authors under the age of 35 whose fiction “promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape.”
The authors were chosen by writers who have themselves been honored by the National Book Foundation, either with National Book Award nominations or 5 Under 35 honors: Susan Choi, Marlon James, Tayari Jones, Tommy Orange, and Justin Torres.
This year’s honorees are no strangers to literary awards. Leilani’s Luster and Coster’s Halsey Street have both been finalists for the Kirkus Prize, and Chang’s Bestiary and Zhang’s How Much of These Hills Is Gold were both longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Zhang’s book was also longlisted for the Booker Prize.
Many 5 Under 35 honorees have gone on to extremely successful careers, including Brit Bennett, Yaa Gyasi, Valeria Luiselli, Bryan Washington, and Claire Vaye Watkins.
This year’s 5 Under 35 class will be honored at an online ceremony on Oct. 20.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.