Archive March 2017

Jenny Xie Wins Walt Whitman Award

Poet Jenny Xie has won the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award, the nation’s largest prize for a debut poetry collection. Xie’s manuscript, Eye Level, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2018.

In addition to publication, Xie will receive $5,000 and a six-week residency at the Civitella Ranierei Center in Umbria, Italy, and will also be featured on the Academy’s website, poets.org, and in its print periodical, American Poets.

United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera selected Xie as this year’s winner. About Eye Level, Herrara writes: “‘Between Hanoi and Sapa’ this collection begins and continues with its ‘frugal mouth’ that ‘spends the only foreign words it owns.’ This knowing ‘travels’ in a spiral-shaped wisdom. We go places; we enter multiple terrains of seeing; we cross cultural borders of time, voices, locations—of consciousness. Then—we notice we are in a trembling stillness with all beings and all things. Jenny Xie’s Eye Level is a timely collection of beauty, clarity, and expansive humanity.”

Jenny Xie holds degrees from Princeton University and New York University’s Creative Writing Program, and has received fellowships from Kundiman, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and Poets & Writers. She is the author of the chapbook Nowhere to Arrive, which won the 2016 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize, and her poems are published or forthcoming in the New Republic, Tin House, Narrative, and elsewhere. Born in Hefei, China, and raised in New Jersey, Xie lives in Brooklyn, New York and teaches at New York University.

Established in 1975, the Walt Whitman Award is designed to encourage the work of emerging poets. Previous recipients include Suji Kwock KimEric PankeyMatt Rasmussen, Alberto Ríos, and Mai Der Vang, whose book, Afterland, will be published by Graywolf next month.

Upcoming Deadline: Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant

Applications are currently open for the Whiting Foundation’s second annual Creative Nonfiction Grant. Individual awards of $40,000 are given to up to six writers in the process of completing a book of creative nonfiction.

Creative nonfiction writers currently under contract with a U.S. publisher and at least two years into their contract are eligible to apply. Using the online submission system, submit up to three chapters of a manuscript-in-progress, a signed and dated contract, a progress statement, a letter of reference from the publisher, and two additional letters of reference by May 1. A panel of five anonymous judges will select the winners; the grantees will be announced in the fall. For complete guidelines and eligibility requirements, visit the website or e-mail nonfiction@whiting.org.

Established in 2015, the Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction Grant provides support for multiyear book projects that require large amounts of research. The grant’s chief objective is to “foster original, ambitious projects that bring writing to the highest possible standard.” The inaugural grantees were Deborah Baker, Sarah M. Broom, Timothy N. Golden, Joshua Roebke, Sarah Elizabeth Ruden, and John Jeremiah Sullivan.

Winners of Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Announced

The Cleveland Foundation has announced the winners of the 82nd annual Anisfield-Wolf Awards, given annually for books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction published in the previous year that “confront racism and examine diversity.” The winners will be honored at a ceremony in Cleveland on September 7.

The winners are Tyehimba Jess in poetry for Olio (Wave Books), Margot Lee Shetterly in nonfiction for Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (William Morrow), and Peter Ho Davies and Karan Mahajan in fiction for The Fortunes (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and The Association of Small Bombs (Penguin), respectively. Isabel Allende received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Jess, Shetterly, and Allende will each receive $10,000; Davies and Mahajan will split the $10,000 fiction prize.

“The new Anisfield-Wolf winners broaden our insights on race and diversity,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., who chairs the jury. “This year, we honor a breakthrough history of black women mathematicians powering NASA, a riveting novel of the Asian American experience, a mesmerizing, poetic exploration of forgotten black musical performance and a spellbinding story of violence and its consequences. All is capped by the lifetime achievement of Isabel Allende, an unparalleled writer and philanthropist.” Gates, along with Rita Dove, Joyce Carol Oates, Steven Pinker, and Simon Schama, judged the prize.

Established in 1935, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards have honored 236 writers, including Nobel laureates Gunnar Myrdal, Nadine Gordimer, Martin Luther King Jr., Toni Morrison, and Derek Walcott.

Whiting Award Winners Announced

Tonight at a ceremony in New York City, the Whiting Foundation announced the winners of the 2017 Whiting Awards. Among the largest monetary prizes given to emerging writers, the annual awards are given in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama. Each winner receives $50,000.

This year’s winners are Simone White and Phillip B. Williams in poetry; Kaitlyn Greenidge, Tony Tulathimutte, Jen Beagin, and Lisa Halliday in fiction; Francisco Cantú in nonfiction; and Clare Barron, Clarence Coo, and James Ijames in drama.

Visit the Whiting Foundation website to read more about the awardees. Excerpts from the latest work of each winner are available at the Paris Review.

Established in 1985, the Whiting Awards aim to “identify exceptional new writers who have yet to make their mark in the literary culture.” More than $7 million has been awarded to 320 emerging writers since the award’s inception. “The prize offers the gift of radical freedom to writers with the talent and imagination to match it,” said Courtney Hodell, the foundation’s director of writers’ programs.

Previous winners have included Tracy K. Smith, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jorie Graham, Elif Batuman, Alice Sola Kim, and Ocean Vuong.

The award is not open to submissions; an anonymous group of writers, editors, agents, critics, professors, booksellers, and other literary professionals are selected by the Whiting Foundation each year to nominate writers and serve as judges for the awards. Visit the Whiting Foundation website for more information.

Top row, from left: Phillip B. Williams, Simone White. Middle row: Tony Tulathimutte, Lisa Halliday, Clare Barron, Kaitlyn Greenidge. Bottom row: Francisco Cantú, Jen Beagin, James Ijames, Clarence Coo. 

National Book Critics Circle Announces Award Winners

The winners of the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Awards have been announced. The annual awards are given for books of poetry, fiction, memoir, nonfiction, biography, and criticism published in the United States in the previous year.



The winners are:

Poetry: House of Lords and Commons: Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Ishion Hutchinson

Fiction: LaRose (Harper) by Louise Erdrich

Memoir: Lab Girl (Knopf) by Hope Jahren

General Nonfiction: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (Crown) by Matthew Desmond

Biography: Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright) by Ruth Franklin

Criticism: White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide (Bloomsbury) by Carol Anderson

The award-winners were announced last night at a ceremony in New York City, during which the NBCC also honored the winners of three more prizes: Yaa Gyasi received the John Leonard Prize for her debut novel, Homegoing; Margaret Atwood received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award; and Michelle Dean received the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

The NBCC also announced the inaugural recipients of its Emerging Critics Fellowship, a new program that “aspires to identify, nurture, and support the development of the next generation of critics.” The fellows are Taylor Brorby, Paul W. Gleason, Zachary Graham, Yalie Saweeda Kamara, Summer McDonald, Ismail Muhamad, and Heather Scott Partington.

Established in 1974, the National Book Critics Circle is comprised of seven hundred working critics and book review editors throughout the country, and has administered its awards since 1975. The prizes honor “the best books published in the past year in the United States,” and is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the publishing industry.

Upcoming Fiction and Nonfiction Deadlines

Do you have a work of fiction or nonfiction ready to submit? Get this week started by submitting to the following contests—which offer prizes of up to $10,000 and have deadlines within the next two weeks.

Colorado Review Nelligan Prize: A prize of $2,000 and publication in Colorado Review is given annually for a short story. Richard Bausch will judge.
Deadline: March 14
Entry Fee: $17

Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest: A prize of $10,000 is given for an essay. Two $2,500 runner-up prizes will also be awarded. The winning essays will be published in Creative Nonfiction. The theme for the contest is “Dangerous Creations: Real-life Frankenstein Stories.”
Deadline: March 20
Entry Fee: $20

Ruminate William Van Dyke Short Story Prize: A prize of $1,500 and publication in Ruminate is given annually for a short story. 
Deadline: March 15
Entry Fee: $20

The Pinch Literary Awards: Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in the Pinch are given annually for a short story and an essay. Caitlin Horrocks will judge in fiction and Jill Talbot will judge in nonfiction.
Deadline: March 15
Entry Fee: $20

James Jones Literary Society First Novel Fellowship: A prize of $10,000 is given annually for a novel-in-progress by a U.S. writer who has not published a novel. A selection from the winning work will be published in Provincetown Arts. Runners-up will each receive $1,000.
Deadline: March 15
Entry Fee: $30

Southampton Review Frank McCourt Memoir Prize: A prize of $1,000 and publication in Southampton Review is given annually for a personal essay. 
Deadline: March 15
Entry Fee: $15

Prairie Schooner Book Prize: A prize of $3,000 and publication by University of Nebraska Press is given annually for a short story collection. An editorial board will select finalists; Kwame Dawes will serve as final judge.
Deadline: March 15
Entry Fee: $20

Visit the contest websites for complete guidelines and submission details. Visit our Grants & Awards database and Submission Calendar for more upcoming contests in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Rick Bass Wins $20,000 Story Prize

Rick Bass has been named the winner of the thirteenth annual Story Prize for his collection For a Little While (Little, Brown). The award honors an outstanding collection of short fiction published in the United States in the previous year, and comes with a $20,000 purse.



Two runners-up each received $5,000; they were Anna Noyes for Goodnight, Beautiful Women (Grove Press) and Helen Maryles Shankman for They Were Like Family to Me (Scribner). Randa Jarrar received the 2016 Story Prize Spotlight Award for her book Him, Me, Muhammad Ali (Sarabande Books). The Spotlight Award confers $1,000 for a story collection that merits further attention.

Story Prize Director Larry Dark and and prize founder Julie Lindsey selected the three finalists from among 106 books, representing 72 different publishers or imprints. The final judges were Harold Augenbraum, former executive director of the National Book Foundation; author Sarah Shun-lien Bynum; and Daniel Goldin of Boswell Books in Milwaukee.

“Rick Bass’s gift at conveying the vastness of the American wilderness through a form as compact as the short story is a cause for wonder,” wrote the judges in their statement about the prize. “Again and again in this collection his stories demonstrate the form’s elasticity and expansiveness, its ability to evoke greatness of scale and time using little more than the seemingly modest tools of close observation, clear language, and rich sensory detail.”

Bass, fifty-nine, is the author of thirteen previous works of fiction and sixteen works of nonfiction, and is considered by many in the literary community as “one of the top practitioners of the short story form.” His fiction has appeared in the Atlantic, Esquire, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, among other publications. He has received multiple O. Henry Awards and Pushcart Prizes, and is the recipient of fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation. His winning book For a Little While includes both new stories and selected stories from five of his previous collections. Bass currently lives in Troy, Montana, and is the writer-in-residence at Montana State University.

Established in 2004, the Story Prize is among the largest prizes given exclusively for short fiction. Previous winners include Edwidge Danticat, Tobias Wolff, George Saunders, Elizabeth McCracken, and Adam Johnson. 

PEN/Faulkner Finalists Announced

Today the PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced the five finalists for its 2017 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The $15,000 prize is given annually for a work of fiction published in the United States in the previous year. Four finalists will each receive $5,000.

The finalists are: After Disasters (Little A) by Viet Dinh, LaRose (Harper) by Louise Erdrich, What Belongs to You (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Garth Greenwell, Behold the Dreamers (Random House) by Imbolo Mbue, and Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist (Lee Boudreaux Books) by Sunil Yapa.

All the finalists except for Erdrich are debut novelists. Judges Chris Abani, Chantel Acevedo, and Sigrid Nunez selected the finalists from a pool of approximately five hundred books. The winner will be announced April 4, and the awards ceremony will be held May 6 at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

Now in its thirty-seventh year, the PEN/Faulkner Award bills itself as the “largest peer-juried award in the country.” For more information about the prize and finalists, visit the PEN/Faulkner Foundation website.

(Photos from left: Viet Dinh, Louise Erdrich, Garth Greenwell, Imbolo Mbue, Sunil Yapa)

Duy Doan Wins Yale Younger Prize

Yale University Press has announced that Duy Doan has won the 2017 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition for his debut collection, We Play a Game. Doan’s book will be published by Yale University Press in April 2018 as the 112th volume in the series. Doan will also receive a fellowship at the James Merrill House in Stonington, Connecticut.

“Wide-ranging in subject, Doan’s poems include boxing, tongue twisters, hedgehogs, Billy Holiday, soccer and, hardly least of all, a Vietnamese heritage that butts up against an American upbringing in ways at once comic, estranging, off-kiltering,” says judge Carl Phillips. “Doan negotiates the distance between surviving and thriving, and offers here his own form of meditation on, ultimately, childhood, history, culture—who we are, and how—refusing all along to romanticize any of it.”

Duy Doan is the director of the Favorite Poem Project, which celebrates the role of poetry in the lives of Americans. He received his MFA from Boston University, and is a Kundiman fellow. He lives in Boston.

The longest-running poetry prize in the United States, the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize is given for a debut poetry collection. Previous winners included Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, Jack Gilbert, Jean Valentine, and Robert Hass.

Windham-Campbell Prize Winners Announced

Yale University has announced the winners of the 2017 Windham-Campbell Prizes for Literature. Administered by Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the annual awards are given to English-language writers from any country for an outstanding body of work or extraordinary promise. This marks the first year the prize, previously given in prose and drama, is also given in poetry; the award money has also increased from $150,000 to $165,000 for each winner.
          

The recipients in poetry are Ali Cobby Eckermann of Australia and Carolyn Forché of the United States; the winners in fiction are André Alexis of Canada and Erna Brodber of Jamaica; the winners in creative nonfiction are Maya Jasanoff of the United States and Ashleigh Young of New Zealand; and the recipients in drama are Marina Carr of Ireland and Ike Holter of the United States.

Established in 2013 by Donald Windham and Sandy M. Campbell, the Windham-Campbell Prizes highlight outstanding literary accomplishment and allow writers to focus on their work without financial concerns. The prizes are open to writers from anywhere in the world at all stages of their careers.

There is no application process for the prize; the awards are made by a group of nominators, a three-member jury in each category, and a nine-member selection committee. Past recipients include Hilton Als, Teju Cole, and Geoff Dyer.

The prizes will be conferred at an international literary festival at Yale in September. My Struggle author Karl Ove Knausgård will deliver a keynote address on the theme of “Why I Write.” All festival events are free and open to the public.

Visit the Windham-Campbell prize website for more information about the festival and this year’s prize-winners.

(Photos clockwise from top left: André Alexis, Erna Brodber, Marina Carr, Ashleigh Young, Carolyn Forché, Maya Jasanoff, Ike Holter, Ali Cobby Eckermann)