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The First Novel Prize

2022 First Novel Prize: The Shortlist

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We are pleased to announce the shortlist for The Center for Fiction 2022 First Novel Prize. These seven titles were selected from the longlist featuring twenty-four debut novels with U.S. publication dates between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. This year’s judges are Matt Bell, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Megha Majumdar, Rebecca Makkai, and Chigozie Obioma.

We congratulate the shortlisted authors, listed alphabetically by last name below.

The First Novel Prize, first awarded in 2006, was created to honor the best debut fiction of the year. The winner receives a $15,000 prize and each of the other shortlisted authors receives $1,000. The shortlisted authors will be celebrated at the First Novel Fête on Friday, December 2, 2022 and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at The Center for Fiction Annual Awards Benefit.

About the Shortlisted Authors

  • Author photo_Daphne Palasi Andreades_credit Jingyu Lin.

    Daphne Palasi Andreades

    Daphne Palasi Andreades

    Daphne Palasi Andreades was born and raised in Queens, New York. Her debut novel, Brown Girls, was selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice book, a finalist for the New American Voices Award, and was chosen as an Indie Next Pick by booksellers across the U.S. Internationally, Brown Girls is now available in the U.K. and Commonwealth (India, Australia, South Africa, and more), and is forthcoming in France and Germany. Daphne is a proud graduate of New York City public schools and went on to earn her MFA in fiction at Columbia University. She lives in New York City and is now at work on her second novel.

    Photo Credit: Jingyu Lin

  • Jessamine Chan by Beowulf Sheehan

    Jessamine Chan

    Jessamine Chan

    Jessamine Chan’s short stories have appeared in Tin House and Epoch. A former reviews editor at Publishers Weekly, she holds an MFA from Columbia University. Her first novel, The School for Good Mothers, is a New York Times bestseller and a Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club pick. She lives in Chicago with her husband and daughter.

    Photo Credit: Beowulf Sheehan

  • isabel-kaplan

    Isabel Kaplan

    Isabel Kaplan

    Isabel Kaplan graduated from Harvard and holds an MFA in creative writing from NYU. She is the author of the national bestselling young adult novel Hancock Park and was born and raised in Los Angeles.

    Photo Credit: Annabel Graham

  • Noor Naga[47]

    Noor Naga

    Noor Naga

    Noor Naga is an Alexandrian writer who was born in Philadelphia, raised in Dubai, studied in Toronto, and now lives in Cairo. Apart from her debut novel If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English, she is also the author of the verse-novel Washes, Prays. Noor teaches at the American University in Cairo.

  • Alyssa Songsiridej by Jaypix Belmer

    Alyssa Songsiridej

    Alyssa Songsiridej

    Alyssa Songsiridej is an editor at Electric Literature. Her fiction has appeared in StoryQuarterly, the Indiana Review, the Offing, and Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, and has been supported by Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, the Ragdale Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, the VCCA and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Little Rabbit is her first novel. A National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree, she lives in Philadelphia.

    Photo Credit: Jaypix Belmer

  • 24334_sullivanmeccajamilah_ckathrynraines_web - Eliana Cohen-Orth

    Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

    Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

    Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Ph.D. is the author of the novel Big Girl, a 2022 most anticipated pick from Vulture, Ms, the Root, Goodreads and SheReads.com. Her previous books are The Poetics of Difference: Queer Feminist Forms in the African Diaspora, and the short story collection, Blue Talk and Love, winner of the Judith Markowitz Award for Fiction from Lambda Literary. She is Associate Professor of English at Georgetown University. A native of Harlem, she currently lives in Washington, DC.

    Photo Credit: Kathryn Raines

  • vauhini vara_c_andrew altschul

    Vauhini Vara

    Vauhini Vara

    Vauhini Vara has worked as a Wall Street Journal technology reporter and as the business editor for the New Yorker. From a Dalit background, she is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an O. Henry Prize winner. The Immortal King Rao is her first novel.

    Photo Credit: Andrew Altschul