Bellwether winner Lisa Ko’s The Leavers moves on to finalist of National Book Award

Lisa Ko’s powerful debut has earned a well-deserved spot on the National Book Award’s Shortlist for Fiction. The Leavers is the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded by Barbara Kingsolver, for a novel that addresses issues of social justice.

Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid examination of borders and belonging. It’s a moving story of how a boy comes into his own when everything he loves is taken away, and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of the past.

“I’m thrilled to see Lisa’s spectacular novel getting noticed, being widely read, and reaching the honors table as it so deserves to do,” Kingsolver said. “The first time I saw this novel in manuscript, I knew this was exactly the kind of story we want to bring to publication with The Bellwether Prize. Lisa Ko is the kind of author whose career we’re thrilled to launch. She and the eight previous Bellwether winners have all put further work into the world that demonstrates the power of art in a time when we desperately need it. Their work gives me hope. I’m honored to call these writers my colleagues.”