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G&A: The Contest Blog

Hungarian fiction writer László Krasznahorkai has won the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. Krasznahorkai was presented with the £60,000 award (approximately $90,000) Tuesday evening at a ceremony in London. Kasznahorkai’s two English translators, George Szirtes and Ottilie Mulzet, will split the £15,000 translator’s prize.

The Man Booker International Prize is given biennially to honor a fiction writer who writes in English or whose work has been translated into English. This year’s judges were Nadeem Aslam, Elleke Boehmer, Edwin Frank, Wen-chin Ouyang, and Marina Warner.  The finalists for the prize were César Aira, Hoda Barakat, Maryse Condé, Mia Couto, Amitav Ghosh, Fanny Howe, Ibrahim al-Koni, Alain Mabanckou, and Marlene van Niekerk.

“Laszlo Krasznahorkai is a visionary writer of extraordinary intensity and vocal range who captures the texture of present day existence in scenes that are terrifying, strange, appallingly comic, and often shatteringly beautiful,” said chair of judges Warner. “The Melancholy of Resistance, Sátántangó and Seiobo There Below are magnificent works of deep imagination and complex passions, in which the human comedy verges painfully onto transcendence.”

Born in Gyula, Hungary in 1954, Krasznahorkai has written almost a dozen novels and short story collections, and his works have been translated into German, Polish, French, Spanish, and other languages. New Directions has published English translations of five of his novels. Krasznahorkai is perhaps best known for his 1993 postmodern novel The Melancholy of Resistance, which won numerous literary prizes, including the German Bestenliste Prize and the Kossuth Prize, which is the highest award given in Hungary.

Sponsored by the London-based Man Group, the Man Booker International Prize was established in 2005 and “highlights one writer’s continued creativity, development, and overall contribution to fiction on the world stage.” The Man Group also administers the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Recent winners of the Man Booker International Prize include Lydia Davis (2013), Philip Roth (2011), and Alice Munro (2009).

The New York City–based Center for Fiction has announced its 2015 Emerging Writer Fellows. The annual fellowships are given to emerging fiction writers of any age living in New York City “whose work shows promise of excellence.”

This year’s nine fellows are Naomi Feigelson Chase, Lisa Chen, Nicola DeRobertis-Theye, t’ai freedom ford, Anu Jindal, Stephen Langlois, Melissa Rivero, Samantha Storey, and Ruchika Tomar. The fellows were chosen from over five hundred applicants. Rene Denfeld, Patricia Park, and Ted Thompson judged. Visit the Center for Fiction website for bios of each of this year’s fellows.

As part of the fellowship, each writer receives a grant of $4,000; the option of mentorship with an editor; the opportunity to meet with agents who represent new writers; a Center for Fiction membership; free admission to all Center events for one year, including its Craftwork lecture series on writing; and a 30 percent discount on tuition for select writing workshops at the Center. The fellows will also each give two public readings as part of the Center’s annual program of events.

Emerging writers living in one of the five boroughs of New York City are eligible for the fellowship. The Center for Fiction defines “emerging writer” as one of any age who has not yet published a novel or short story collection with a major or independent publisher, and who is also not currently under contract to a publisher for a work of fiction. Eligible applicants may have had works of fiction published in magazines, literary journals, or online, though previous publication is not required. Writers in degree-granting programs are ineligible.  

Applications for the 2016 Emerging Writers Fellowship will open in the fall. Visit the Center for Fiction website for more information about the fellowship program.

This morning, PEN American Center announced the winners of the 2015 PEN Literary Awards. The annual awards, which total more than $150,000, honor emerging and established writers in seventeen categories including poetry, debut fiction, science writing, translation, biography, and drama. On June 8, the winners will be honored in a ceremony at the New School in New York City. The shortlists and complete list of winners can be found on PEN’s website. Below are the winners for a select few prizes:

Saeed Jones won the $5,000 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry for his collection Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House). Marie Howe, Mary Szybist, and Craig Morgan Teicher judged. The biennial award recognizes the work of an emerging American poet who shows promise of further literary achievement.

Joshua Horwitz won the $10,000 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award for his book War of the Whales: A True Story (Simon & Schuster). Sue Halpern, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, and Carl Zimmer judged. The annual prize is given for a book of literary nonfiction on the subject of the physical or biological sciences published in the previous year.

Sheri Fink won the $10,000 PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction for her book Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital (Crown). Andrew Blechman, Paul Elie, Azadeh Moaveni, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, and Paul Reyes judged. The biennial award is given to an author of a book of general nonfiction published in the previous two years that possesses notable literary merit and critical perspective.

Denise Newman won the $3,000 PEN Translation Prize for her translation from the Danish of Naja Heather Cleary’s book Baboon (Two Lines). Lucas Klein, Tess Lewis, and Allison Markin Powell judged. The annual award is given for a translation of book-length prose from any language into English published in the previous year.

PEN will announce the winners of the $25,000 Prize for Debut Fiction, the $10,000 Art of the Essay Award, and the $5,000 Open Book Award at the Literary Awards Ceremony on June 8. Visit the PEN website for the shortlists. The winner of the $10,000 PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize and recipients of the $2,000-$4,000 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants will be announced later this month.

PEN American Center has administered its literary awards for nearly fifty years. Established in 1922, PEN works globally to defend freedom of expression and to promote international literature and culture.

The Poetry Foundation announced today that Alice Notley has won the 2015 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. The annual award of $100,000 honors the outstanding lifetime achievement of a living U.S. poet.

With a career spanning more than four decades, Notley, sixty-nine, is the author of twenty-five books of poetry, including The Descent of Alette (Penguin, 1996); Mysteries of Small Houses (Penguin, 1998), which received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Disobedience (Penguin, 2001), which won the Griffin International Poetry Prize; and Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems 1970-2005 (Wesleyan, 2006), which was awarded the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Notley’s other honors and awards include the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, an Arts and Letters Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Foundation of Contemporary Arts grant. Later this year, Notley will publish two new poetry collections: Certain Magical Acts and Benediction.

Poetry magazine editor Don Share said of Notley’s work, “Like Whitman, she is simultaneously one of a kind and a poet for each of us: an exemplary, humane, and ultimately essential writer.” Robert Polito, the president of the Poetry Foundation, added, “Book by surprising book, [Notley] reinvents not only herself as a poet, but also what it means for anyone to write a poem at this volatile moment in our history.”

Established in 1986 by Ruth Lilly and sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, the prize is one of the most prestigious American poetry awards and among the largest literary honors for English language works. Adrienne Rich won the inaugural award, and recent winners include Nathaniel Mackey, Marie Ponsot, and W. S. Di Piero.

Notley and the winner of the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism will be honored at a ceremony in Chicago on June 8. The Poetry Foundation will announce the winner of the Pegasus Award later this month.

At the Poetry Foundation website, listen to a podcast featuring Notley, who reads and discusses her work, and read a new interview with the Ruth Lilly Prize winner.

Submissions are currently open for the Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest. An annual award of $1,000 and publication in Creative Nonfiction is given for an essay on a specified theme. This year’s theme is “The Weather.” The runner-up will receive $500. Essays should “combine a strong and compelling narrative with an informative or reflective element, and reach beyond a strictly personal experience for some universal or deeper meaning.” The editors will judge. 

Using the online submission manager, submit a previously unpublished essay of up to 4,000 words along with a $20 entry fee—or $25 to receive a four-issue Creative Nonfiction subscription—by May 11. Submissions are also accepted via postal mail to Creative Nonfiction, Attn: WEATHER, 5501 Walnut Street, Suite 202, Pittsburgh, PA 15232. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Founded in 1993 by Lee Gutkind, Creative Nonfiction was the first literary magazine to exclusively publish “high quality nonfiction prose,” and remains the largest literary publication in the genre. Past contributors include prize-winning authors Annie Dillard, Gordon Lish, Francine Prose, and C. K. Williams. For more information about the contest, e-mail information@creativenonfiction.org, or call (412) 688-0304.

Submissions are currently open for the inaugural Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry. A prize of $2,000 and publication by Pleiades Press, with distribution by Louisiana State University Press, will be given annually for a poetry collection. The winner will also be invited to read at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. The editors will judge.

Using the online submission manager, send a poetry manuscript of at least 48 pages with a $25 entry fee, which includes a poetry collection published by Pleiades Press, by May 4. Submissions may also be sent via postal mail to Pleiades Press, Department of English, Martin 336, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO 64093.

Established in 2000, Pleiades Press is housed at the University of Central Missouri. The press releases several poetry books each year and also publishes the literary journal Pleiades. For the past fifteen years, the press has also administered the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize. Recent winners include Adrian C. Louis, Katie Bichkham, Abigail Cloud, Katy Didden, Bruce Snider, and Julianna Baggott.

Submissions are currently open for the Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction, given biennially for a short story by a writer who has not yet published a full-length work of fiction. The winner will receive $1,000 Canadian (approximately $830) and publication in the Malahat Review. Elyse Friedman will judge.

Submit a story of up to 3,500 words with a $30 entry fee, which includes a subscription to the Malahat Review, by May 1 via e-mail to horizons@uvic.ca or via postal mail to the Malahat Review, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 1700, Station CSC, Victoria, B.C. V82 2Y2, Canada.

Judge Elyse Friedman has written three novels, a short story collection, and a poetry collection. In an interview with the Malahat Review, Friedman says, “I don’t think writers should ever aim for a place on any spectrum. Real writers don’t aim. They open and spill. And their words find the place where they’re supposed to be. My writing tends to be accessible and there’s usually a plot involved, often a high-concept premise, but I like to read all kinds of writing. I don’t care if there’s plot, or if the writing is difficult or the narrative is disjointed—as long as there’s truth and rhythm and talent.” Friedman cites Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain,” J. D. Salinger’s “Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut,” Vladimir Nabokov’s “Symbols and Signs,” and Steven Millhauser’s “In the Reign of Harad IV” as amongst her favorite short stories.

Established in 1967, the Malahat Review is one of Canada’s oldest literary journals. Housed at the University of Victoria, the journal publishes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and administers several annual and biennial contests. Recent winners of the Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction include Kerry-Lee Powell for her story “Palace of Brine,” and Zoey Peterson for her story “Next Year, For Sure.” The prize was first awarded in 2007.

Photo: Elyse Friedman (George Gooderham)

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