2022 Mark Twain American Voice In Literature Prize Shortlist Announcement

The Mark Twain House & Museum has announced the shortlist of titles for the 2022 Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Prize! The Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award honors an exemplary work of fiction from the previous calendar year that speaks with an “American voice” about American experiences, much like Twain’s masterpiece, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Sixty eligible titles published in 2021 were submitted for consideration. Each book was reviewed by several members of the reading committee, resulting in a long list of fifteen incredible books announced in June 2022. Now, after careful deliberation, a select committee has further narrowed the list down to a short list of four outstanding titles. These titles will be read by our final panel of judges who will ultimately decide the winner of the 2022 award.

Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Prize Shortlist 2022

Damnation Spring

by Ash Davidson


A novel about love, work and marriage that asks how far a family and community will go to protect their future.

The final revival of Opal and Nev

by Dawnie Walton

(37 Ink)

A novel about the rise of an iconic interracial rock duo in the 1970s, their sensational breakup, and the dark secrets uncovered when they attempt to reunite decades later.

The Five Wounds

by Kirsten Valdez Quade

(WW Norton & Company)

A first novel about the extraordinary year of love and sacrifice of a New Mexican family.


by Hermione Hoby

(Riverhead Books)

A novel of youth, desire and moral conflict, in which a young man is seduced by the mirage of glamour, at a terrible price.

The winning title will be announced in October and the prize, along with his $25,000 prize, will be presented by his benefactor David Baldacci at the American Voice Prize Banquet on November 4 at the Mark Twain House & Museum (details to come). The Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award is sponsored by David Baldacci and Bank of America.

Mark Twain House & Museum Executive Director Pieter Roos said, “We are very pleased to see the number of submissions increase and the diversity of American voices represented. I want to thank our sponsors, David Baldacci and Bank of America, the authors and publishers. , and our volunteer readers for expanding the network and ensuring that our understanding of what a true American voice is in our literature continues to evolve. These four selections show just how varied and complex the American experience truly is.

Previous winners of the MTAVL award include The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (2021), On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (2020), Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (2019), Dodgers by Bill Beverly (2018) and TC Boyle. The More They Come (2017).

For more information on the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, visit MarkTwainHouse.org.

The Mission of The Mark Twain House & Museum: Mark Twain changed the way the world sees America and the way Americans see themselves. We carry on this legacy to foster appreciation of Twain as one of our nation’s defining cultural figures and to demonstrate the continued relevance of his work, life and times.

The Mark Twain House & Museum has restored the author’s historic home in Hartford, Connecticut, built in 1874, where the author and his family lived for 17 years. It was here that Twain wrote his most important works, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. In addition to offering tours of the restored Twain House, a National Historic Landmark, we offer educational and public programs that encourage critical thinking and promote literacy, humanity and social justice.

For more information, call 860-247-0998 or visit marktwainhouse.org.

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