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2021 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Shortlist

2021 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Shortlist

Here is the shortlist for the 2021 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize! These seven titles were selected from the longlist featuring twenty-seven debut novels with U.S. publication dates between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021.

Playlist Tags: genre: Fiction fiction

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The City of Good Death

By Priyanka Champaneri
Narrated by: Manish Dongardive
Length: 14 hours 56 minutes

Winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Priyanka Champaneri’s transcendent debut novel brings us inside India’s holy city of Banaras, where the manager of a death hostel shepherds the dying who seek the release of a good death, while his own past refuses to let him go.

Banaras, Varanasi, Kashi: India’s holy city on the banks...

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The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

An Oprah’s Book Club Novel

By Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
Narrated by: Adenrele Ojo, Karen Chilton & Prentice Onayemi
Length: 29 hours 48 minutes

If you enjoyed The Underground Railroad (Television Tie-in), then you’ll love The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois.

“At 29 hours this one might seem like quite a commitment, but after traveling the century with them, you’ll deeply miss the echoes of the voices of Ailey and Belle and even good old Uncle Root.”

The Country Bookshop image Angie, The Country Bookshop
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Brood

A Novel

By Jackie Polzin
Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
Length: 4 hours 50 minutes

Brood

“Over the course of a year, told in a collection of snapshots, Brood shows the life of a woman grieving by doing anything but. She gives herself purpose by taking care of a small flock of chickens, as well as finding small but kind, funny, or wry ways of interacting with her neighbors, eccentric mother-in-law, and caring husband, Percy. There are plenty of clever and funny moments from scene to scene (not to mention the odd and interesting analyses of a chicken’s life and point of view), but the beauty in this book lies in the narrator’s acceptance of the everyday, and of all the things — bad, good, but mostly in-between — that come therein.”

Oxford Exchange image Cat Chapman, Oxford Exchange
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No One Is Talking About This

A Novel

By Patricia Lockwood
Narrated by: Kristen Sieh
Length: 4 hours 43 minutes

No One Is Talking About This

“This compact novel captures the life of a social media influencer in such a stunning way—I listened to this book with my jaw on the floor. Incredible (though if you've never opened Instagram or Twitter, this might not be for you).”

Oblong Books image Suzanna, Oblong Books
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Build Your House Around My Body

A Novel

By Violet Kupersmith
Narrated by: Quyen Ngo
Length: 15 hours 23 minutes

Part puzzle, part revenge tale, part ghost story, this ingenious novel spins half a century of Vietnamese history and folklore into “a thrilling read, acrobatic and filled with verve” (The New York Times).
 
FINALIST FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION’S FIRST NOVEL PRIZE • LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR:... Read more »

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The Five Wounds

A Novel

By Kirstin Valdez Quade
Narrated by: Gary Tiedemann
Length: 15 hours 43 minutes

It's Holy Week in the small town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and thirty-three-year-old unemployed Amadeo Padilla has been given the part of Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep and disrupts his plans for personal redemption. With... Read more »

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Swimming Back to Trout River

A Novel

By Linda Rui Feng
Narrated by: Nancy Wu
Length: 8 hours 15 minutes

A “beautifully written, poignant exploration of family, art, culture, immigration…and love” (Jean Kwok, author of Searching for Sylvie Lee and Girl in Translation) set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution that follows a father’s quest to reunite his family before his precocious daughter’s momentous birthday, which Garth Greenwell... Read more »

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