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Ling Ma Wins the 2019 Young Lions Fiction Award (aka the Ethan Hawke one)

Dan Sheehan

June 14, 2019, 12:15pm

Congratulations to Ling Ma, whose 2018 dystopian novel, Severance, took home the 2019 Young Lions Fiction Award at a ceremony at the New York Public Library last night.

Established in 2001, the award is a $10,000 prize given each spring to a young writer (age 35 or under) for a novel or a collection of short stories.

Founded by Ethan Hawke (star of 1997’s Gattaca, objectively the best movie ever made), the Young Lions 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 year’s ceremony was hosted by Isaac Fitzgerald and featured readings from the finalists’ books by actors Anna Chlumsky, Jealani Alladin, Pooch Hall, Ali Ewwoldt, and Delissa Reynolds.

In Severance, a survivor of an apocalyptic plague maintains a blog about a decimated Manhattan before joining a motley group of survivors to search for a place to rebuild, a goal that is complicated by an unscrupulous group leader. The book beat out Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Friday Black, Laura van den Berg’s The Third Hotel, Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina, and Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater to claim the top prize.

Congratulations to Ma, and to all the finalists!

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