BROOKLYN — If you want to know about the best books in Brooklyn, ask a librarian.
This year’s winners of the Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize — nominated by local bookstores and a committee of librarians — are in, selected from a range of fiction and nonfiction books written about the borough or by an author who has lived here.
The top prizes went to two Brooklyn-based authors: Idra Novey, who wrote the novel "Ways to Disappear" about the disappearance of a Brazilian author; and Mary Buser, recipient of the nonfiction prize for her memoir "Lockdown on Rikers" written about the five years she spent working in the jail’s mental health department.
Buser, a licensed social worker, thanked the group for the award and said it was “an honor” after the prize was announced last week.
The award, which comes with a $2,500 prize, was selected by a panel of authors from a shortlist created by nominations from Brooklyn bookshops and local librarians this summer.
To be eligible for the honor, authors must have had their books published sometime between June 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016, according to organizers.
The prize was created last year by the Brooklyn Eagles — a fundraising group for the library — to promote books that “portrayed the borough … or addressed themes relevant to its life and culture,” the library said.
Finalists for the prize included novels "Don’t Let My Baby Do Rodeo" by Boris Fishman and "Bright Lines" by Tanwi Nandini Islam and nonfiction books "Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown" and the "American Soul" by James McBride and Tim Sultan’s "Sunny’s Night: Lost and Found at a Bar on the Edge of the World" written about the Red Hook bar and its late, eccentric owner, Sunny Balzano.