Few things give us more pleasure than being able to celebrate Brooklyn, the borough that west elm has called home since its inception. This week, one of the ultimate celebrations of Brooklyn’s cultural achievements will take place at the Park Slope branch of The Brooklyn Public Library—The Brooklyn Eagles Literary Awards.

Bestowed upon the authors of two books—one fiction and one nonfiction—the prize honors works that portray Brooklyn, are written by Brooklynites, or address themes that are relevant to the region’s rich culture and history. The winners will be announced on Friday, October 22, but in the meantime, take a peek at the shortlists below!

Need more book recommendations?

Try your hand at The Brooklyn Public Library’s Book Match service. They’ll team you up with your own personal librarian and a custom list of books to match your tastes!

west elm - Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize


Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo
by Boris Fishman

Fishman’s second novel tells the story of the Maya and Alex Rubin, Russian transplants with an adopted American son living in New Jersey — about the mystery of inheritance and what exactly it means to belong.

Ways to Disappear
by Idra Novey

Novey is a poet and a translator living in Brooklyn, and both are apparent in her debut novel, about a Brazilian writer who disappears and what her American translator and two children go through to resolve her disappearance, ultimately examining all the conflicting ways people long to be understood.

Bright Lines
by Tanwi Nandini Islam

Islam’s debut novel is a coming of age story set in Brooklyn and Bangladesh, following two young women in one hot Brooklyn summer as they navigate the transition from adolescence to young adulthood, and how their family operates between two cultures, struggling to make peace with secrets and their shared past.


Lockdown on Rikers
by Mary E. Buser

A former mental health administrator at Rikers describes the everyday abuses she encountered while attempting to serve the needs of inmates there.

Sunny’s Nights
by Tim Sultan

The story of an unusual bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn and its eccentric owner, Sunny Balzano, as told by a gifted writer.

Kill ’em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul
by James McBride

A National Book Award-winning novelist goes in search of the “real” James Brown by interviewing those who knew him.

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