After long and difficult deliberation, Restless Books is pleased to announce the finalists for our Prize for New Immigrant Writing. Our judges were astounded by the sheer quality and diversity of submissions to this inaugural running of the prize. We thank everyone who submitted their work for making the selection process so enjoyable, and we can't wait to introduce the world to a remarkable debut author when we publish the winning book next year.
Without further ado, here is the shortlist:
- The Alexandria You Are Losing, by Yasser Yehia El-Sayed
- The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, A Haven, by Thirii Myint
- Heartland, by Ana Simo
- Intersections, by Yong Takahashi
- Temporary People, by Deepak Unnikrishnan
See below for more information about the finalists. The prize winner will be announced in early May. Stay tuned!
Congratulations to the finalists and a hearty thank you to all who submitted.
The judges—Maaza Mengiste, Javier Molea, and Ilan Stavans—and the Restless Books team
About the Finalists
Yasser Yehia El-Sayed
An Egyptian-American (by way of Libya and Scotland), Yasser Yehia El-Sayed is a high-risk obstetrician and the dean of maternal and child health at Stanford’s School of Medicine. The Alexandria You Are Losing collects stories about North Africans reckoning with cross-cultural experience as they find their place, both at home and abroad.
Born in the city of Yangon, Thirii Myint is a PhD candidate in English and Creative Writing at the University of Denver. Influenced largely by Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, Myint’s collection and novella grew out of the author’s intention to render categories of “immigrant” and “ethnic” literature obsolete.
Ana Simo is a Cuban-born New York writer and lesbian activist. In her novel, Heartland, a rogue Latina writer, a mysterious Anglo art dealer and a New Racialism leader collide, sparking an irreverent riff on the burdens of history, sex, guilt, and revenge.
Yong Takahashi moved from Seoul to Detroit when she was two years old and has worked in accounting and real estate, all the while writing fiction on the side. Intersections, her collection of linked stories set in and around Atlanta, suggests the interconnectedness of disparate people in a city supposedly segregated by race.
Deepak Unnikrishnan moved from Abu Dhabi to the United States when he was twenty years old to attend college; he holds an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and has taught at the Institute and at NYU Abu Dhabi. With stylistic cues taken from Salman Rushdie and George Saunders, the short stories of Temporary People illuminate how temporary status affects noncitizen migrant workers in the United Arab Emirates.