Longlist for the 2021 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize Announced.

Longlist for the 2021 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize Announced.

Brooklyn Public Library's (BPL) Literary Prize has for the past seven years recognized and celebrated writing that captures Brooklyn’s spirit in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.

"This year's nominees are a love letter to New York in all its plurality and vibrance. The stories represented in our longlist books take us from 19th century Brooklyn to the disordered cosmos, to apartments in Bushwick and brownstones in Bed-Stuy," said Librarian Michelle Montalbano, co-coordinator of the Literary Prize committee.

"We spend time with trans women in Prospect Park, in the courtroom examining our broken legal system, and ask ourselves important questions about how we show up for our community, vibrate higher, live on purpose in the pursuit of transformative justice, and what the future could hold. By highlighting these exciting books from the past year and engaging more of our BPL colleagues in the process of selecting them than ever before, we hope to hold up a mirror to Brooklynites that truly reflects the diversity of their beloved borough," Montalbano explained.

The Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize was established in collaboration with the Brooklyn Eagles. The shortlist will be announced in early fall with winners selected in November.

"The Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize celebrates contemporary writers and their greatest allies: librarians," said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library, announcing the longlist. "This year, BPL librarians and library staff read across genre and a dazzling array of subjects from climate change to the cosmos. The longlist encourages readers to delve into our past and imagine a more equitable, more sustainable future."

Alphabetical by author last name


How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community (Hachette Go)
By Mia Birdsong

Pedro’s Theory: Reimagining the Promised Land (Melville House)
By Marcos Gonsalez

We Do This ‘til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice (Haymarket Books)
By Mariame Kaba

Under A White Sky: The Nature of the Future (Crown, an imprint of Random House)
By Elizabeth Kolbert

Vibrate Higher: A Rap Story (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
By Talib Kweli

The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred (Bold Type)
By Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free: And Other Paradoxes of Our Broken Legal System (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
By Jed S. Rakoff

Better, not Bitter: living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice (Grand Central Publishing)
By Yusef Salaam

Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
By Sarah Schulman

Intimations: Six Essays (Penguin Books)
By Zadie Smith

New Yorkers: A City and its People in Our Time (Norton & Company)
By Craig Taylor

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (Random House)
By Isabel Wilkerson


The Wild Fox of Yemen (Graywolf Press)
By Threa Almontaser

Black Buck (HMH Books)
By Mateo Askaripour

When No One is Watching (William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
By Alyssa Cole

Love and Other Poems (Copper Canyon Press)
By Alex Dimitrov

Un-American (Wesleyan University Press)
By Hafizah Geter

Libertie (Workman Publishing)
By Kaitlyn Greenidge

Luster (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
By Raven Leilani

We Are Watching Eliza Bright (Grand Central Publishing)
By A.E. Osworth

Detransition, Baby (Penguin Random House)
By Torrey Peters

100 Boyfriends (MCD x FSG Originals)
By Brontez Purnell

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (Tor)
By V.E. Schwab

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev (Simon & Schuster)
By Dawnie Walton