Aspen Institute Announces The 2023 Aspen Words Literary Prize Longlist

December 12, 2022

 Fourteen works of fiction in the running for the 6th annual $35,000 award

Contact: Mallory Kaufman, Program Associate
Aspen Words | The Aspen Institute
Phone: 970-925-3122 ext. 2

Aspen, CO, December 12, 2022 – Aspen Words, a program of the Aspen Institute, today announced the longlist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize (AWLP), a $35,000 annual award for a work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue.

  • When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar (One World – PRH)
  • Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo (Viking – PRH)
  • How Not To Drown in a Glass of Water: A Novel by Angie Cruz (Flatiron – Macmillan)
  • If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery (MCD – FSG)
  • The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead – PRH)
  • Calling For a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah (Algonquin)
  • The Last Suspicious Holdout by Ladee Hubbard (Amistad – HarperCollins
  • The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories by Jamil Jan Kochai (Viking – PRH)
  • What We Fed to the Manticore by Talia Laskhmi Kolluri (Tin House)
  • The Consequences by Manuel Muñoz (Graywolf Press)
  • Harry Sylvester Bird by Chinelo Okparanta (Mariner Books – HarperCollins)
  • Memphis by Tara Stringfellow (Dial Press – PRH)
  • All This Could be Different: A Novel by Sarah Thankam Mathews (Viking – PRH)
  • The Town of Babylon: A Novel by Alejandro Varela (Astra House)

More information:

The 14 longlisted titles include seven fiction debuts and five short story collections. The jury for the prize—Rumaan Alam (a 2021 AWLP finalist), Chris Bryan, Omar El Akkad (a 2022 AWLP finalist), Teresa Goddu, Dawnie Walton (the 2022 AWLP winner)—will read all longlisted books to determine the five finalists and winner.

“The AWLP celebrates exceptional works of fiction that expand perspectives and build compassion around critical human, social and global concerns,” said Aspen Words Executive Director Adrienne Brodeur. “The powerful books on this longlist tell stories that are set against or address directly the climate crisis, racism, xenophobia and mental health, among others and feature a range of dynamic voices, including debut as well as established authors.”

About the Aspen Words Literary Prize
The $35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize is awarded annually to an influential work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture. Open to authors of any nationality, the award is one of the largest literary prizes in the United States, and one of the few focused exclusively on fiction with a social impact. The inaugural award was presented to Mohsin Hamid in 2018 for Exit West, his novel about migration and refugees. Tayari Jones won the 2019 prize for An American Marriage, her novel about racism and unjust incarceration; Christy Lefteri received the 2020 prize for her novel The Beekeeper of Aleppo, about Syrian refugees; Louise Erdrich won the 2021 award for The Night Watchman, about Native American dispossession; and Dawnie Walton won the 2022 award for The Final Revival of Opal and Nev, which explores identity, place and the influence of pop culture. Eligible works include novels or short story collections that address questions of violence, inequality, gender, the environment, immigration, religion, racism or other social issues.

The finalists will be announced on March 6, 2023, and the winner will be revealed at an awards celebration at the Morgan Library in New York City on April 19, 2023. | |


Download author photos here

Download book jackets here

Aspen Words Literary Prize logo here

Questions or requests for author interviews can be directed to: 
Mallory Kaufman, Program Associate
Aspen Words | The Aspen Institute
Phone: 970-925-3122 ext. 2

Aspen Words was founded in 1976 as a literary center based in Aspen, CO. A program of the Aspen Institute, its mission is to encourage writers, inspire readers and connect people through the power of stories. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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