Three poets and four fiction writers have received 2009 Whiting Writers' Awards, given to recognize emerging writers of "exceptional talent and promise," the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation announced last night. The recipients of the fifty-thousand-dollar prize in poetry are Jericho Brown, Jay Hopler, and Joan Kane, and the fiction winners are Adam Johnson, Nami Mun, Salvatore Scibona, and Vu Tran.
Brown is the author of the poetry collection Please (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2008), and Hopler's first book is Green Squall (Yale University Press, 2005). Joan Kane's debut collection, The Cormorant Hunter's Wife, is forthcoming this fall from NorthShore Press.
Johnson has published two books, the short story collection Emporium (Viking, 2002) and the novel Parasites Like Us (Viking, 2003). Mun's debut novel, Miles From Nowhere, was released by Riverhead last December, and Scibona's first novel, The End, was published by Graywolf Press in May 2008. Tran's first novel, currently untitled, is forthcoming from Norton.
Awards were also given to playwright Rajiv Joseph (Animals Out of Paper, Gruesome Playground Injuries), and nonfiction writers Michael Meyer (The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed, published by Walker & Company in 2008) and Hugh Raffles (In Amazonia: A Natural History, published by Princeton University Press in 2002).
Winners are chosen by a panel of writers, scholars, and editors from a pool of nominees recommended by roughly one hundred anonymous individuals working in the literary arts. The foundation, which also awards grants to doctoral students working on dissertations in the humanities, created the Whiting Writers' Awards in 1985.