Here are the winners of the 2022 New England Book Awards


The two books won for fiction and nonfiction respectively.

  • Q&A: Morgan Talty on his book ‘Night of the Living Rez’

  • Book excerpt: ‘Night of the Living Rez’ by Morgan Talty

A collection of linked stories set in Maine and a memoir in essays about growing up in Massachusetts won big at the 2022 New England Book Awards Thursday night.

“Night of the Living Rez” by Morgan Talty won the top award for fiction, while “Dirtbag, Massachusetts” by Isaac Fitzgerald won for nonfiction.

Talty’s book, his debut work of fiction, was published in July and features a series of 12 linked stories, set in Maine on the Penobscot Indian Nation. The stories illustrate with stunning compassion the lives of families navigating economic insecurity, mental illness, addiction, and trauma.

“Thank you all for this love and support! It means the world to me!” Talty wrote on Twitter.

  • Q&A: Isaac Fitzgerald on his memoir ‘Dirtbag, Massachusetts’

  • Book excerpt: ‘Dirtbag, Massachusetts’ by Isaac Fitzgerald

In his debut memoir, which was also published in July, Fitzgerald delves into his childhood — growing up in a Boston homeless shelter and in rural Massachusetts — and the years that followed. In the series of essays, he examines ideas of home, safety, and belonging, reflecting on his life experiences, ranging from working as a bartender in San Francisco to his relationship with the Catholic Church.

“HUGE congratulations to all the nominees and winners!” Fitzgerald wrote. “And thank you (thank you thank you thank you) independent booksellers of New England! Your support—and this prize—means the world to me.”

The winners of the 2022 New England Book Awards were announced during the New England Independent Booksellers Association fall conference Thursday night in Providence, Rhode Island.

Below see the full list of winners and the finalists in each of the award’s book categories:


Winner: “Night of the Living Rez” by Morgan Talty


  • “Babel” by RF Kuang
  • “Ben and Beatriz” by Katalina Gamarra
  • “Kaikeyi” by Vaishnavi Patel
  • “The Children on the Hill” by Jennifer McMahon


Winner: “Dirtbag, Massachusetts” by Isaac Fitzgerald


  • “Another Appalachia” by Neema Avashia
  • “Black Ghost of Empire” by Kris Manjapra
  • “Breaking Bread” edited by Debra Spark and Deborah Joy Corey
  • “Civil Rights Queen” by Tomiko Brown-Nagin


Winner: “Such Color” by Tracy K. Smith


  • “Cutlish” by Rajiv Mohabir
  • “Dream of the Divided Field” by Yanyi
  • “The Curious Thing” by Sandra Lim
  • “What is Otherwise Infinite” by Bianca Stone

Young Adult

Winner: “Squire” by Nadia Shammas and Sara Alfageeh


  • “Briar Girls” by Rebecca Kim Wells
  • “Deep in Providence” by Riss M. Neilson
  • “Slip” by Marika McCoola, illustrated by Aatmaja Pandya
  • “The Name She Gave Me” by Betty Culley

Middle Grade

Winner: “Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor” by Xiran Jay Zhao


  • “Anybody Here Seen Frenchie?” by Leslie Connor
  • “A Comb of Wishes” by Lisa Stringfellow
  • “Maizy Chen’s Last Chance” by Lisa Yee
  • “Wingbearer” by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Teny Issakhanian

Children’s Book

Winner: “Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story” by Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry and Alexis Bunten, Illustrated by Gary Meeches Sr.


  • “Big Truck, Little Island” by Chris Van Dusen
  • “Firsts & Lasts: The Changing Seasons” by Leda Schubert, illustrated by Clover Robin
  • “What Isabella Wanted: Isabella Stewart Gardner Builds a Museum” by Candace Fleming, Illustrated by Matt Cordell
  • “When Langston Dances” by Kaija Langly, illustrated by Keith Mallett

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