The William Saroyan International Prize for Writing is given out every two years to new and emerging fiction and non-fiction writers. The fiction prize for 2014 went to Kiese Laymon for his novel Long Division, which came out last year. The novel, which I have not read yet, is about two boys named City, who both live in Mississippi, but one is from 2013 and the other from 1985. There is time travel involved and a “strange novel” which links the two boys together. It sounds like an original and engaging book, which also looks at life in Mississippi past and present.
I heard Laymon read from his collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, at the Franklin Park reading series this spring. He was a great reader and his story was funny and moving. It is nice to see his debut novel getting some recognition.
I have found prize lists to be good places to discover new writers. The Saroyan shortlist has some titles on it you might want to explore.