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2023 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Longlist
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2023 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Longlist

The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, first awarded in 2006, was created to honor the best debut fiction of the year. Congrats to the authors below! Get listening now to discover new favorites.

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A Novel

By: Esther Yi
Narrated by: Greta Jung
Length: 5 hours 8 minutes

Surreal, hilarious, and shrewdly poignant—a novel about a Korean American woman living in Berlin whose obsession with a K-pop idol sends her to Seoul on a journey of literary self-destruction.
It’s as if her life only began once Moon appeared in it. The desultory copywriting work, the boyfriend, and the want of anything not-Moon quickly fall away... Read more

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Glassworks

By: Olivia Wolfgang-Smith
Narrated by: Katherine Littrell
Length: 14 hours 16 minutes

In 1910, Agnes Carter makes the wrong choice in marriage. After years as an independent woman of fortune, influential with the board of a prominent university because of her financial donations, she is now subject to the whims of an abusive, spendthrift husband. But when Bohemian naturalist and glassblower Ignace Novak reignites Agnes’s passion... Read more

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In Memoriam

A novel

By: Alice Winn
Narrated by: Christian Coulson
Length: 12 hours 37 minutes

GMA BUZZ PICK • INTERNATIONAL BEST SELLER AND AWARD WINNER • A haunting, virtuosic debut novel about two young men who fall in love during World War I • “Will live in your mind long after you’ve closed the final pages.” —Maggie O’Farrell, best-selling author of Hamnet and The Marriage Portrait

A Best Book of the Year: The New Yorker, The...
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We Are A Haunting

A Novel

By: Tyriek White
Narrated by: James Jones, Machelle Williams & Arischa Frierson
Length: 8 hours 42 minutes

2023 First Novel Prize - Winner"What a beautiful, haunting and hued narrative of American living. I’m in love with this story and the way Tyriek White breathes life into these characters." —Jacqueline Woodson, MacArthur Fellow and author of Another Brooklyn
A poignant debut for readers of Jesmyn Ward and Jamel Brinkley, We Are a Haunting follows... Read more

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Hush Harbor

A Novel

By: Anise Vance
Narrated by: Preston Butler III
Length: 8 hours 54 minutes

A resistance group takes America's racial reckoning into its own hands in this powerful, stirringly original debut novel 

After the murder of an unarmed Black teenager by the hands of the police, protests spread like wildfire in Bliss City, New Jersey. A full-scale resistance group takes control of an abandoned housing project and decide to call... Read more

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Banyan Moon

A Novel

By: Thao Thai
Narrated by: Cindy Kay, Catherine Ho & Elyse Dinh
Length: 12 hours 23 minutes

Banyan Moon is a remarkable debut novel from Thao Thai that follows Vietnamese-American Ann, her mother, grandmother, and their connections to generations of women who came before. Moving from the Vietnam war to current day Florida, Thai peels away family secrets like an onion to reveal truth, healing, love and friendship. Read more

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The Ocean Above Me

A Novel

By: Kevin Sites
Narrated by: Graham Halstead
Length: 9 hours 52 minutes

Longlisted for The Center for Fiction's First Novel PrizeAmerican Legacy Book Awards Winner""An intense and powerful novel about losing one’s way and then finding it again in the unlikeliest of places. I found it moving, thought-provoking and gripping in equal measure."" -- Ian McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of The North WaterTrapped... Read more

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Night Wherever We Go

A Novel

By: Tracey Rose Peyton
Narrated by: Karen Chilton
Length: 8 hours 28 minutes

A RECOMMENDED READ FROM: The Washington Post • Atlanta Journal-Constitution • CrimeReads • Library JournalA gripping, radically intimate debut novel about a group of enslaved women staging a covert rebellion against their ownersOn a struggling Texas plantation, six enslaved women slip from their sleeping quarters and gather in the woods under... Read more

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What Napoleon Could Not Do

A Novel

By: DK Nnuro
Narrated by: Kofi Boakye, Ana Hoffman & Adam Lazarre-White
Length: 13 hours 57 minutes

One of the Books Barack Obama Is Reading This Summer
One of Vulture’s Best Books of 2023
One of Goodreads’ Buzziest Debut Novels of 2023
One of Essence’s 31 Books You Must Read
One of the most anticipated books by Town & Country and Elle

America is seen through the eyes and ambitions of three characters with ties to Africa in this gripping...
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Moonrise Over New Jessup

By: Jamila Minnicks
Narrated by: Karen Chilton
Length: 10 hours 47 minutes

Winner of the 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, a thought-provoking and enchanting debut about a Black woman doing whatever it takes to protect all she loves at the beginning of the civil rights movement in Alabama.
 
It’s 1957, and after leaving the only home she has ever known, Alice Young steps off the bus into the... Read more

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The Militia House

A Novel

By: John Milas
Narrated by: Davis Brooks
Length: 6 hours 38 minutes

Longlisted for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize

“An extraordinary novel about the quiet and not so quiet horrors of war.” —Roxane Gay


Stephen King meets Tim O’Brien in John Milas’s The Militia House, a spine-tingling and boldly original gothic horror novel.

It’s 2010, and the recently promoted Corporal Loyette and his unit are finishing... Read more

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Red Clay Suzie

A Novel Inspired by True Events

By: Jeffrey Dale Lofton
Narrated by: Pete Cross
Length: 10 hours 13 minutes

The coming-of-age story of Philbet, a gay, physically-misshapen boy in rural Georgia, battles bullying, ignorance, and disdain as he makes his way in life as an outsider—before finding acceptance in unlikely places.Fueled by tomato sandwiches and green milkshakes and obsessed with cars, Philbet struggles with life and love as a gay boy in rural... Read more

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Our Best Intentions

A Novel

By: Vibhuti Jain
Narrated by: Ulka Simone Mohanty
Length: 10 hours 30 minutes

A Good Morning America Buzz Pick * NPR 1A Inaugural Book Club Pick * A 'Must-Read' by USA Today * Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize * Booklist Editor's Choice * CrimeReads' Best of the YearA suspenseful drama about an immigrant family caught in a criminal investigation, perfect for readers of Celeste Ng's Everything I Never... Read more

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The Kudzu Queen

By: Mimi Herman
Narrated by: Courtney Patterson
Length: 11 hours 12 minutes

Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize

Fifteen-year-old Mattie Lee Watson dreams of men, not boys. So when James T. Cullowee, the Kudzu King, arrives in Cooper County, North Carolina, in 1941 to spread the gospel of kudzu—claiming that it will improve the soil, feed cattle at almost no cost, even cure headaches—Mattie is ready.... Read more

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Coleman Hill

A Novel

By: Kim Coleman Foote
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin & Dion Graham
Length: 9 hours 29 minutes

Coleman Hill is the exhilarating story of two American families whose fates become intertwined in the wake of the Great Migration. Braiding fact and fiction, it is a remarkable, character-rich tour de force exploring the ties that bind three generations. In 1916, Celia Coleman and Lucy Grimes flee the racism and poverty of their homes in the... Read more

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Sea Change

A Novel

By: Gina Chung
Narrated by: Jeena Yi
Length: 8 hours 14 minutes

A NEW YORK TIMES MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK • An enchanting novel about Ro, a woman tossed overboard by heartbreak and loss, who has to find her way back to stable shores with the help of a giant Pacific octopus at the mall aquarium where she works.

“Immersively beautiful.... A kaleidoscope of originality." —Weike Wang, acclaimed author of Joan is...
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An Autobiography of Skin

A Novel

By: Lakiesha Carr
Narrated by: Kacie Rogers, Zenzi Williams & Karen Chilton
Length: 9 hours 22 minutes

A NEW YORKER BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • This magisterial, intimate look at Black womanhood "follows three women whose various traumas haunt them literally and metaphorically, as it explores what it means to be a Black woman in America today" (The New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice).

A middle-aged woman feed slots at a secret back-room... Read more

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Under the Tamarind Tree

By: Nigar Alam
Narrated by: Sneha Mathan
Length: 10 hours 13 minutes

A compellingly heartbreaking debut novel about the echoes of Partition and four friends whose dark secrets lead to a life-changing night that comes back to haunt them decades later.

One night. Four friends. Countless secrets.

1964. Karachi, Pakistan. Rozeena is running out of time. She'll lose her home—her parents' safe haven since fleeing India... Read more

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Chain Gang All Stars

National Book Award Finalist

By: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Narrated by: Shayna Small, Aaron Goodson, Michael Crouch & Lee Osorio
Length: 13 hours 38 minutes

“This book is so many great things: a story of love and companionship; a story of an inhumane prison system not so different than our own; and an incredible adventure. The audiobook performances are first rate! Read more

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Family Lore

A Novel

By: Elizabeth Acevedo
Narrated by: Elizabeth Acevedo, Sixta Morel & Danyeli Rodriguez del Orbe
Length: 9 hours 49 minutes

NATIONAL BESTSELLERGOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK!Winner of the NAACP Image Award, Outstanding Literary Work, FictionShortlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel PrizeFrom National Book Award-winning author Elizabeth Acevedo comes the story of one Dominican American family told through the voices of its womenFlor has a gift: she can... Read more

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