Young Lions Fiction Award

“We started this prize because we wanted to be sure that there was a net for young writers,
a little net where you could get caught, where you’d know people cared.”

—Ethan Hawke, Co-Founder of the Young Lions Fiction Award

2022 Young Lions Fiction Award Finalists and Readers sit onstage in the Celeste Bartos Forum.

Established in 2001, The New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award is a $10,000 prize awarded each spring to a writer age 35 or younger for a novel or a collection of short stories. Each year, five young fiction writers are selected as finalists by a reading committee of Young Lions members, writers, editors, and librarians. A panel of judges selects the winner.

Founded by Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, Rick Moody, and Hannah McFarlandand made possible by an endowment created with generous gifts from Russell Abrams, Nina Collins, Hannah and Gavin McFarland, Ethan Hawke, Stephan Loewentheil, Rick Moody, Andrea Olshan and Jennifer Rudolph Walshthis annual award recognizes the work of young authors and celebrates their accomplishments publicly, making a difference in their lives as they continue to build their careers. ​

This prize is part of the Library's Young Lions program, a membership group for people in their 20s and 30s who are committed to supporting the organization and to celebrating young writers and artists who are making an impact on this city's cultural life.

The Young Lions Fiction Award is given each spring during a special ceremony at The New York Public Library.  

We were thrilled to welcome Young Lions back to an in-person ceremony and special celebration this year. We are looking forward to our celebration next year, which will be held on June 15, 2023. Learn more about the 2022 finalists here.

The winner of the 2022 Young Lions Fiction Award was Kalani Pickhart. View previous winners and finalists.  

Book covers of 2022 Young Lions Fiction Award finalists.


For more information on submissions for the Young Lions Fiction Award, please see our guidelines and submission form. For questions about submitting work for the Young Lions Fiction Award, please contact the Young Lions office at 212.930.0885 or


Crowd dances in Astor Hall.

Photos by BFA/Yvonne Tnt.