Each year the National Book Foundation is proud to honor five debut fiction writers whose work promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape.

Selected by previous National Book Awards Winners, Finalists, and Longlisted authors, or writers previously recognized by 5 Under 35, this year’s honorees join a list of acclaimed past 5 Under 35 authors like Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Akwaeke Emezi, Angela Flournoy, Phil Klay, Valeria Luiselli, Téa Obreht, Bryan Washington, Claire Vaye Watkins, C Pam Zhang, and many more.

The 2021 5 Under 35 honorees will be honored at an invitation-only ceremony in Spring 2022. You can learn more about 5 Under 35 and the National Book Foundation on our website.


Calid Azumah Nelson, NBF honoreeCaleb Azumah Nelson
Author of

Open Water

Selected by Brit Bennett, 2020 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction, 2016 5 Under 35 honoree

Nathan Harris, NBF honoreeNathan Harris
Author of

The Sweetness of Water

Selected by Charmaine Craig, 2017 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction


Lee Lai, NBF honoreeLee Lai
Author of
Stone Fruit

Selected by Bryan Washington, 2019 5 Under 35 honoree


Claire Luchette, NBF honoreeClaire Luchette
Author of
Agatha of Little Neon

Selected by Elizabeth McCracken, 1996 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction, 2014 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction, 2021 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction

Dantiel Moniz, NBF honoreeDantiel W. Moniz
Author of
Milk Blood Heat

Selected by Rumaan Alam, 2020 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction