The Center for Fiction in New York City announced yesterday that Jamaica Kincaid has won the 2010 Clifton Fadiman Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Kincaid's 1985 novel Annie John (Hill and Wang), the story of a young girl growing up in the author's native Antigua, was selected by Pulitzer Prize–winner Jane Smiley, as the recipient of the five-thousand-dollar award, which honors books published at least ten years ago that are "deserving of rediscovery and a wider readership."
Previous Fadiman winners include Lore Segal for Other People's Houses, selected by Cynthia Ozick; Robert Coover for Pricksongs and Descants, selected by T. C. Boyle; and James Purdy for Eustace Chisholm and the Works, selected by Jonathan Franzen.
Smiley will present the award to Kincaid on April 14 at the Center for Fiction. Tickets for the event are fifteen dollars, and can be purchased on the center's Web site.
There are two days remaining to submit essays for a competition that will award four writers tickets to a performance by essayist David Sedaris in Chicago. Cooler by the Lake, the online magazine of StoryStudio Chicago writing and arts center, will accept entries of "funny, humorous, poignant" essays through Friday.
The winners each will receive two tickets to Sedaris's show on April 17 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, and their essays will be published in Cooler by the Lake. StoryStudio will notify winners, who will be responsible for their own travel and lodging, by April 2.
In the recording below, originally broadcast on Chicago Public Radio's This American Life, the author of essay collections Me Talk Pretty One Day (Little, Brown, 2000) and When You Are Engulfed in Flames (Little, Brown, 2008), among others, tells a story from his childhood.
Black Lawrence Press, publisher of contemporary literature and an imprint of nonprofit press Dzanc Books, is winding down its submissions period for the annual Hudson Prize. The competition is open to collections of both poetry and short stories, but no matter its genre, the work, according to executive editor Diane Goettel, should aim to rock readers on a visceral level.
Goettel responded to our question about what the editors, who will serve as judges, will be looking for in a manuscript by recalling one blurber's reaction to the book of a former prizewinner—Jason Tandon. Tandon won the press's debut book prize, the St. Lawrence Book Award, in 2006. "In his blurb for Give Over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt, Todd Zuniga said that Tandon's poems caused him to ache—'an "I'm-happy-to-be-alive" ache, an "I'm-glad-writing-like-this-exists" ache.' That's what we are looking for in submissions to The Hudson Prize: writing that makes us ache."
The winning manuscript will be published by Black Lawrence Press, and the winner will receive one thousand dollars. Entries may be of any length, and should be sent via e-mail by March 31. More information about this and other competitions going on now is available in our Grants & Awards database.
Earlier today Sherman Alexie was named winner of the fifteen-thousand-dollar PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for his "structurally inventive" short story collection War Dances (Grove Press). Judges Rilla Askew, Kyoko Mori, and Al Young selected Alexie's book, which interweaves poetry with prose, from among roughly 350 novels and short story collections nominated by publishers.
Also receiving honors are finalists Barbara Kingsolver, nominated for her novel The Lacuna (Harper); Lorraine M. Lopez, for Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories (BkMk Press); Lorrie Moore, for her novel A Gate at the Stairs (Knopf); and Colson Whitehead, for his novel Sag Harbor (Doubleday), each of whom will be awarded five thousand dollars. The honorees will all be celebrated at the thirtieth anniversary award ceremony on May 8 at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., where the PEN/Faulkner Foundation is based.
Alexie, the first Native American to win the prize, joins a roster of award alumni that includes Kate Christensen, Ha Jin, Joyce Carol Oates, Joseph O'Neill, Ann Patchett, Annie Proulx, Marilynne Robinson, Philip Roth, and John Updike.
Writer's Relief, a New Jersey–based company that provides submission services to writers, has announced the first of what will be annual scholarships to poets, fiction writers, and essayists. The Peter K. Hixson Scholarship will award three writers an A La Carte Plus package, a service that includes a vetted list of markets, as well as preparation of cover and query letters for writers to send to specific literary magazine editors and agents.
According to the Writer's Relief Web site, the service has assisted writers in placing work in journals including Zone 3, Chautauqua, Rio Grande Review, the MacGuffin, and Willard and Maple. The company values each Hixson scholarship at five hundred dollars.
The award is given in honor of the late Peter K. Hixson, a poet, fiction writer, choreographer, and speech-language pathologist who used the service. Excerpts of Hixson's work are posted online.
Writers may submit a sample in one category—poetry, short prose, or novel—via an online form. There is no fee to enter. More information about the award is available on the scholarship contest page.
Two writing competitions that had been administered by Eastern Washington University (EWU) Press in Spokane recently were shifted into the jurisdictions of two separate presses. The Blue Lynx Prize, given for a book of poetry, and the Spokane Prize for a short fiction collection are now housed at Lynx House Press and Willow Springs Books, respectively.
Lynx House Press, established in 1975 and for the past five years managed by EWU Press, is now going solo as a nonprofit outfit since the university elected to close its eponymous publisher. The school’s creative writing program will still have access to an in-house press, Willow Springs Books, a new publishing venture that serves as the lab for the program’s internship in literary editing.
Competition guidelines and the awards themselves haven’t changed, however. The prizes each offer two thousand dollars and publication of the winning manuscript. The deadline is approaching for the fiction award, which closes on April 1, and the poetry prize deadline is May 15.
On the heels of the announcement of the Orange Prize longlist today, a bit of insight into the judging process of the annual award, given for a novel by a woman writer, was revealed by chair of judges Daisy Goodwin. The British television producer told the Independent she was put off by an abundance of nominated books written around an "issue," derivative of the popular genre she called the "misery memoir," several centering on themes of rape and child abuse.
"The pleasure of reading counts for something...I don't think editors think enough about this pleasure," Goodwin told the U.K. newspaper. "If I read another sensitive account of a woman coming to terms with bereavement, I was going to slit my wrists."
Goodwin counted as exceptions Roopa Farooki's The Way Things Look to Me, the story of an autistic teenager; Amy Sackville's The Still Point, whose protagonist suffers from depression; and Hilary Mantel's Booker prize–winning historical novel Wolf Hall—all of which made the longlist. Joining Goodwin in winnowing the pile of nominated titles are rabbi and author Julia Neuberger, novelist and critic Michèle Roberts, journalist Miranda Sawyer, and British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman.
Below is the list of semifinalists for the 2010 Orange Prize. The winner of the £30,000 (approximately $46,000) award will be announced on June 9.
Rosie Allison for The Very Thought of You (Alma Books) Eleanor Catton for The Rehearsal (Granta)
Clare Clark for Savage Lands (Harvill Secker)
Amanda Craig for Hearts and Minds (Little, Brown)
Roopa Farooki for The Way Things Look to Me (Pan Books)
Rebecca Gowers for The Twisted Heart (Canongate)
M. J. Hyland for This is How (Canongate) Sadie Jones for Small Wars (Chatto & Windus)
Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna (Faber & Faber)
Laila Lalami for Secret Son (Viking)
Andrea Levy for The Long Song (Headline Review)
Attica Locke for Black Water Rising (Serpent's Tail)
Hilary Mantel for Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate)
Maria McCann for The Wilding (Faber & Faber)
Nadifa Mohamed for Black Mamba Boy (HarperCollins)
Lorrie Moore for A Gate at the Stairs (Faber & Faber)
Monique Roffey for The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (Simon & Schuster)
Amy Sackville for The Still Point (Portobello Books) Kathryn Stockett for The Help (Fig Tree) Sarah Waters for The Little Stranger (Virago)
In the video below, 2009 Orange Prize winner Marilyn Robinson discusses the complexity of father-son relationships, which she investigates in her winning third novel, Home.