Nominated by:

Milwaukee Public Library, USA

The National Library Service, Bridgetown, Barbados

Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, Cincinnati, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, USA

The Submission

Amy Waldman    

A jury gathers in Manhattan to select a memorial for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack. Their fraught deliberations complete, the jurors open the envelope containing the anonymous winner’s name—and discover he is an American Muslim. Instantly they are cast into roiling debate about the claims of grief, the ambiguities of art, and the meaning of Islam. Their conflicted response is only a preamble to the country’s.

The memorial’s designer is an enigmatic, ambitious architect named Mohammad Khan. His fiercest defender on the jury is its sole widow, the self-possessed and mediagenic Claire Burwell. But when the news of his selection leaks to the press, she finds herself under pressure from outraged family members and in collision with hungry journalists, wary activists, opportunistic politicians, fellow jurors, and Khan himself—as unknowable as he is gifted. In the fight for both advantage and their ideals, all will bring the emotional weight of their own histories to bear on the urgent question of how to remember, and understand, a national tragedy.

In this deeply humane novel, the breadth of Amy Waldman’s cast of characters is matched by her startling ability to conjure their perspectives. A striking portrait of a fractured city striving to make itself whole, The Submission is a piercing and resonant novel by an important new talent. 

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Amy Waldman was co-chief of the South Asia bureau of The New York Times. Her fiction has appeared in The Atlantic and the Boston Review and is anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010. She lives with her family in Brooklyn. This is her first novel.

Librarians’ Comments

A carefully selected jury sifts through anonymous entries, intent on constructing the perfect memorial to those who died in the World Trade Centre attack. When they finally select the winning design, they discover that its creator is an American Muslim. In a story told from many viewpoints, the value of art over the artist is in question, as is the meaning of the labels we use to describe ourselves.

The Submission by Amy Waldman revisits the ruins of 9/11. She taps into the feelings of loss, abandonment and despair post this tragic era. Amy explicitly and effectively chronicles the ugliness and anti-Muslim rhetoric post 9/11. This book brings a balance of perspectives to this tragic event in world history. It’s a refreshing read!

A jury reviews architects’ anonymous entries for a monument at the 9/11 site. When the winner is a Muslim there is an uproar of concern. Tightly plotted with compelling characters.

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