Heng wins 2023 New American Voices Award


Author Rachel Heng has won the sixth annual New American Voices Award for her novel The Great Reclamation. She accepted the award at a ceremony at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts during 25th annual Fall for the Book festival.

Rachel Heng and book cover

The New American Voices Award was created in 2018 by Fall for the Book and Mason’s Institute for Immigration Research (IIR) to recognize recently published works that illuminate the complexity of the human experience as told by immigrants, whose work is historically underrepresented in writing and publishing.

“When I first started writing this book, I wondered if anyone in America would want to read a book like this,” said Heng, who was born and raised in Singapore and is currently an assistant professor of English at Wesleyan University, “[but] the longer that I’ve been here, I’ve come to see a lot of similarities [between Singapore and the U.S.]. Both are countries of immigrants, [and] it means the world to me, truly, to have this novel recognized for those commonalities.”

The two other award finalists—Angie Kim, author of Happiness Falls, and DK Nnuro, author of What Napoleon Could Not Do—also read from and discussed their work at the event.

The previous winners of the New American Voices Award are Hernan Diaz’s In the Distance, Melissa Rivero’s The Affairs of the Falcóns, Lysley Tenorio’s The Son of Good Fortune, Patricia Engel’s Infinite Country, and Sindya Bhanoo’s Seeking Fortune Elsewhere.

The IIR is at the forefront of immigration research, producing high-quality research and timely analysis that examines the economic contributions of immigrants in the United States.

Fall for the Book is Northern Virginia’s oldest and largest festival of literature and the arts. All events are free and open to the public thanks to the generous support of sponsors including Mason, the Fairfax County Public Library, the Fairfax Library Foundation, and the City of Fairfax.