The finalists for the first annual Aspen Words Literary Prize have been announced. The $35,000 award will be given for a book of fiction published in the previous year that “illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture.” The winner will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the 2018 Aspen Words Summer Benefit in Aspen, Colorado, as a featured speaker and guest of honor.
The finalists are What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky (Riverhead Books) by Lesley Nneka Arimah, What We Lose (Viking) by Zinzi Clemmons, Exit West (Riverhead Books) by Mohsin Hamid, Mad Country (Soho Press) by Samrat Upadhyay, and Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner) by Jesmyn Ward.
Judges Stephen L. Carter, Jessica Fullerton, Phil Klay, Alondra Nelson, and Akhil Sharma selected the finalists from twenty semi-finalists. The winner will be announced on April 10 at an awards ceremony at the Morgan Library in New York City. Visit the Aspen Words website for more information.
(Photos from left: Moshin Hamid, Samrat Upadhyay, Zinzi Clemmons, Jesmyn Ward, Lesley Nneka Arimah)