Catherine Lacey '10 Wins 2021 NYPL Young Lions Award

BY Nicole Saldarriaga, June 22, 2021

Writing alumna Catherine Lacey '10 recently won the 2021 NYPL Young Lions Award for her novel, Pew. This prestigious award is given annually to an American writer aged 35 or younger for an outstanding novel or collection of short stories, and the award carries a monetary prize of $10,000. This year's judges were authors Hernan Diaz and Emma Straub, and critic Yahdon Israel. 

 

Pew is Lacey's third novel, follows a mysterious, genderless, racially ambiguous person who is discovered in a church in a small, southern town. Nicknamed Pew by a family that takes them in, they don't speak and don't know where they came from. As the town prepares for the Forgiveness Festival, Pew's ambiguous identity begins to bother the townspeople until their relationships to each other, to Pew, and to the dark truths of their beliefs come to a terrible climax. 

 

According to Yahdon Israel, "Just as Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man challenged us to interrogate who we see as it pertains to race, Catherine Lacey's Pew challenges us to interrogate what we see when it pertains to sex and gender. Consistent in both works is their ingenuity in utilizing fiction to avert the question away from the observed to the observer."


Catherine Lacey is the author of the novels Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers, and the short story collection Certain American States. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship. She was named one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The New York Times, The Believer, and elsewhere.

 


Original Article: April 14, 2021

 

Pew (FSG, 2020), by alumna Catherine Lacey '10, and Temporary, (Coffee House Press, 2020) by Adjunct Assistant Professor and alumna Hilary Leichter '12, have both been named finalists for the New York Public Library's 2021 Young Lions Fiction Award

 

This prestigious award, which was founded in 2001 by Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, alumnus Rick Moody ’86, and Hannah McFarland, is given annually to an American writer who is 35 or younger for an outstanding novel or collection of short stories. The award carries a monetary prize of $10,000. 

 

Both Pew and Temporary have garnered great attention and critical acclaim since their release last year. Both novels were shortlisted for 2021 PEN America Literary Awards. Pew was also longlisted for the 2021 Joyce Carol Oates Prize and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction; and Temporary was listed as one of NPR's Best Books of 2020 and was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction's 2020 First Novel Prize.

 

The winner of the NYPL 2021 Young Lions Fiction Award will be announced at a virtual ceremony on June 17, 2021. 

 

Hilary Leichter has received fellowships from The Edward F Albee Foundation, the Table 4 Writers Foundation, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has appeared in Harper's, The New York Times, n+1, The New Yorker, Conjunctions, and New York Magazine's The Cut. She teaches in the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Columbia University.


Catherine Lacey is the author of the novels Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers, and the short story collection Certain American States. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship. She was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award, and was named one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The New York Times, The Believer, and elsewhere.