New Yorkers will be encouraged to read the book in the coming months, and participate in free events hosted by public libraries throughout the five boroughs
NEW YORK, NY – Throughout April, New Yorkers voted for the book they want the whole city to read together as part of "One Book, One New York," and today, Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) Commissioner Julie Menin, New York Magazine and Vulture announced Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach as the winning book. New Yorkers voted online by the tens of thousands. The campaign generated close to six million social media impressions and a citywide discussion about which book should win the competition, now in its second year.
"We are so pleased to announce this year's One Book, One New York winner, and thrilled at the level of enthusiasm and participation in this year's program," said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. "Manhattan Beach is steeped in New York history and is a deep dive into the city's waterfront neighborhoods. Because it features such a strong and compelling female protagonist who defies the gender stereotypes of her day it feels especially timely today."
Manhattan Beach is the fifth novel–and first work of historical fiction–written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan, a Brooklyn resident. Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, the book was also long-listed for the 2017 National Book Award and selected as a top book of 2017 by publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, and Time. Manhattan Beach tells the haunting World War II-era story of Anna Kerrigan, who becomes the Brooklyn Navy Yard's first female diver, and her search for her missing father.
"I'm ecstatic that Manhattan Beach has been chosen by One Book, One New York, especially with such remarkable other works in the field," said Manhattan Beach author Jennifer Egan. "The city of New York was my muse and my collaborator on this project, and it's thrilling to think of the book being widely read in the five boroughs that inspired it."
Egan carried out considerable historical research to write Manhattan Beach, including interviews with many New Yorkers who lived through World War II. She partnered with the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn Historical Society to help create an archive of Navy Yard workers' stories, including many from the women who held jobs there.
Each of the nominated books this year delves into the city's diverse neighborhoods and recent history, and were written by authors who live or lived in the five boroughs. The other finalists were:
Egan is the author of several novels and a short story collection. She is a recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Critics Circle Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Her journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine.
New York Magazine and Vulture, MOME's partners for this year's One Book, One New York initiative, will host a discussion with Jennifer Egan as part of the fourth annual Vulture Festival on Saturday, May 19, moderated by editor-in-chief Adam Moss. The event is free with RSVP; access to the event will be granted on a first come, first served basis.
"One Book One New York is a great program and Manhattan Beach is a great book," says New York Magazine editor-in-chief Adam Moss. "It's nice to know New Yorkers have such good taste. It's been a pleasure to partner with the Mayor's office on this program, and watch the democratic process play out to select a winner. I'm a huge Jenny Egan fan, and I'm looking forward to speaking with her about her new book and its backdrop – New York City – at the Vulture Festival."
In addition to the 1,000 copies of Manhattan Beach donated to New York City's public library systems for the contest launch, Scribner (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) is generously donating 500 additional copies to ensure that as many New Yorkers as possible have free access to the winning book. Librarians of New York City's three public library systems will bring discussions of Manhattan Beach into communities throughout all five boroughs. Many of New York City's 200 neighborhood library branches will feature creative and distinctive programming around Manhattan Beach and its themes.
"We are thrilled that Manhattan Beach has been chosen as the 2018 One Book, One New York read," said Carolyn Reidy, President and CEO Of Simon & Schuster. "Jennifer Egan's instant classic is a big and inspiring New York story during a time of great change in the years before and during World War II, and we couldn't be more delighted to share our enthusiasm for this book with the entire city. Congratulations to all the finalists and bravo to the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and One Book, One New York for leading the discussion and bringing readers together in what promises to be a wonderful collective literary experience."
Last year, as part of the inaugural One Book, One New York program, the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island established book clubs to discuss Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which was the winning book selection in 2017. This year, the Department of Corrections has expressed interest in duplicating those efforts around the reading and discussion of Manhattan Beach at the men's facility.
"We look forward to collaborating with the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, regarding 'One Book, One New York' as part of a surge of education and re-entry programs offered at DOC, which include reading groups and lectures," said New York City Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann. "The experience of reading a good book is one of the most constructive and enjoyable uses of time - books can teach and educate, expand vocabulary and develop strong writing skills - helping those in custody as they prepare to re-enter our community."
For the second consecutive year, the NYU School of Professional Studies Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies will be participating in One Book, One New York. This year, it also will be joined by the School's Center for Applied Liberal Arts. Both units will host a number of initiatives in which students can read and discuss Manhattan Beach by the end of the semester. They will launch a virtual book club via Twitter, moderating discussions about the book, its themes, and connection to New York City. In addition, they will have a faculty led discussion on topics related to the book.
"Manhattan Beach is a terrific choice! There's something for every reader—a strong female protagonist, depictions of Brooklyn of long ago, and the influence of the water, which can soothe and threaten, inspire and mystify," noted Billie Gastic, associate dean of the NYUSPS Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies.
Voting took place online throughout the month of April. To select the five book finalists, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment consulted with literary leaders throughout the city for suggestions on which books to include in this year's One Book, One New York. New York Magazine and Vulture's book editors helped whittle down the list to five books, each of which delves into the lives of complex characters, from groundbreaking women to struggling artists to new immigrants, grappling with adversity as they try to forge a life and identity in New York City neighborhoods.
The One Book, One New York website will be updated regularly, with a wide variety of book clubs and reading groups that will spring up across the city all summer long. New Yorkers are encouraged to keep up with the latest developments by visiting NYC.gov/OneBook.
"The 'One Book, One New York' initiative is a fantastic program that promotes literacy and encourages disparate New Yorkers to come together by sharing in the experience of reading a great New York-centric book," said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. "Congratulations to Jennifer Eagan, whose novel Manhattan Beach was the winner of this year's One Book, One New York online competition. Congratulations also to Commissioner Julie Menin and the entire team at the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment for undertaking the innovative and creative One Book, One New York campaign."
"Congratulations to Brooklyn's own Jennifer Egan for winning this year's One Book, One New York competition, which brings us together in celebration of stories inspired by our communities," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. "Manhattan Beach offers a unique glimpse into one young woman's path to adulthood against the backdrop of 1940's Brooklyn. It's a great example of the power of literature in taking the reader on a journey of imagination and self-discovery, and I hope my fellow Brooklynites enjoy sharing in that journey."
"I'm thrilled Commissioner Menin and the Mayors Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) are hosting One Book, One New York again after last year's inaugural launch," said Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell. "As the Chair of the Assembly's Committee on Arts, I have a front row seat to witness the power the arts have to transform others' lives. Two very special aspects of this project that I'm glad to see continued are the partnership between MOME and the Department of Corrections through Rikers Book Club and the empowerment of our local libraries through 1,500 donated copies of Manhattan Beach. These initatives ensure that One Book, One New York reaches all New Yorkers."
"I can't think of a better and more fitting way to kick off the summer reading season with an ode to New York like Manhattan Beach," said Council Speaker Corey Johnson. "One Book, One New York is a great way to bring New Yorkers together through their love of literature and I encourage all New Yorkers to head to the New York Public Library to grab a copy and enjoy this Pulitzer prize winning novel."
"One Book, One New York is an amazing program that unites New Yorkers from all neighborhoods and all walks of life," said Council Member Van Bramer, Chair of the City Council's Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries. "I'm thrilled that 1500 copies of Manhattan Beach will be available in libraries throughout the city, expanding access to this unique opportunity. I am also excited about the creative library programming across all five boroughs that will encourage people to engage with the story and enhance this experience. When we read together, we live together."
"Books offer incarcerated individuals a connection to the outside world and contribute to reduced recidivism," said Council Member Keith Powers, chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. "Those at Rikers will be able to connect over Manhattan Beach through the Rikers Island book club, while benefitting from skill building and education. I thank the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment for running a unique program that so many New Yorkers can enjoy."