Mitali Perkins’ Novel In The Running for National Book Award

Perkins' novel You Bring the Distant Near explores emotions and inheritance of culture among Indian Americans.


Indian American author Mithali Perkins’ novel You Bring the Distant Near has been placed in the longlist of books in contention for this year’s National Books Award for Young People’s Literature.

The finalists of the contest will be announced on Oct. 04, and the winners will be revealed at a grand ceremony in New York on Nov. 15.

The announcement that Young Bring the Distant Near was included in the long list came on the day the book was launched. Perkins shared her excitement on Twitter:

Heartwarming Story of 3 Generations

Perkins’ novel is among the 10 in the long list. Through the novel, she tries to capture the heart-touching story of five women from three different generations. Set in the United States, the novel explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture among Indian Americans.

Upon its release, the novel received positive reviews from critics and readers alike:

Publishers Weekly: “An unforgettable novel that spans decades and continents as it moves among three generations of Indian women, some new immigrants to the U.S., all struggling to bridge cultures … Perkins’s vibrantly written exploration of a family in transition is saturated with romance, humor, and meaningful reflections on patriotism, blended cultures, and carving one’s own path.”

Teen Vogue: “This ambitious multigenerational story of finding identity and acceptance is inspired by the author’s own experience as the youngest of three sisters who arrived in the United States in the 1970s. The exquisite narrative journeys across time and geography — from Ghana to London to Harlem — and crosses borders of love, faith, and culture.”

Bustle: “You Bring the Distant Near captures the immigrant experience for one Indian-American family with humor and heart. Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, this elegant YA novel explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture — for better or worse.”

The Life of Mitali Perkins

Born in Kolkata, Perkins traveled a lot during her childhood with her parents, and by the time she turned 11, she had been to London, New York, Mexico, Cameroon, and Ghana before settling in California. The Stanford and U.C Berkeley alumnus has authored 10 novels, including Tiger Boy, Bamboo People and Monsoon Summer.

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