AWP Award Series Winners
Previous winners of the the Donald Hall Prize for Poetry, the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction, the AWP Prize for the Novel, and the AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction. Scroll over each photo for more information.
|Creative Nonfiction||Gretel Ehrlich||
Winner: Wang Ping
Gretel Ehrlich, Judge: "[Wang Ping's book] is free-wheeling, unusual, and always charged as it swings back and forth in time and cultures. These are mountain and river tales wound together like eels navigating the muddy waters of political, cultural, and personal displacement and wars waged against the human spirit. Episodes wriggle between cities on either side of the Pacific, China to the US and back again, from Tiger Leaping Gorge to New York, to Tibet, to the Yangtze and the Mississippi. Between the trapped and the free as the writer swims between homes and two rivers simultaneously."
Wang Ping was born in China and came to the US in 1986. Her publications of poetry and prose include American Visa, Foreign Devil, Of Flesh and Spirit, New Generation: Poetry from China Today, Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China, The Magic Whip, The Dragon Emperor,The Last Communist Virgin, and Flashcards: Poems by Yu Jian. She won the Eugene Kayden Award for the Best Book in Humanities and is the recipient of an NEA fellowship, the Bush Artist Fellowship for poetry, the McKnight Fellowship for non-fiction, and many others. She received her Distinct Immigrant Award in 2014, and Venezuela International Poet of Honor in 2015. She’s also a photographer and installation artist. Her multi-media exhibitions include “Behind the Gate: After the Flood of the Three Gorges,” and “Kinship of Rivers” at schools, colleges, galleries, museums, lock and dams, and confluences along the Mississippi River. She is professor of English at Macalester College, founder and director of Kinship of Rivers project.
|The Life of Miracles along the Yangtze and Mississippi|
Winner: Joshua Bernstein
Zachary Lazar, Judge: "Rachel’s Tomb is a deftly ambitious novel about young soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces and the loved ones they’ve left behind. It brings to life with great artistry a diverse cast of secular and religious Jews, Arabs, Russians, and Ethiopian immigrants, soldiers, and civilians—a complex image of Israel. The book’s absurdist humor gracefully counterpoints the waste, loss, and early sorrow faced by its indelibly drawn characters."
Joshua Bernstein’s forthcoming story collection, STICK-LIGHT, was a finalist for the Robert C. Jones and Beverly Prizes. His work has appeared in Boston Review, Kenyon Review Online, Tampa Review, Tin House (web), and other journals, and won the Hackney Novel Prize, the Knut House Novel Contest, and the John Gunyon Award. A Chicago native, he is an assistant professor of English at the University of Minnesota Duluth and the fiction editor of Tikkun.
Finalist: Timothy DeLizza, A Gift of Two
Winner: Brynne Rebele-Henry
Kim Addonizio, Judge: “Autobiography of a Wound is a perilous journey of stone and bone and blood, goddess statue and abject, trembling girl. It’s the female body, the queer body, and its writer is unrelenting in her obsessive depictions of violation and damage. It is also precise, elegant, and incisive (in all senses of that word). I could not stop reading it, and afterwards, I could not stop thinking about it. To discover after choosing this manuscript for the Donald Hall Prize that its author was eighteen both floored and delighted me. Make way for Brynne Rebele-Henry. As Emerson said to a much older Whitman, ‘I greet you at the beginning of a great career.’”
Brynne Rebele-Henry’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in such journals as Prairie Schooner, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, Fiction International, Rookie, and So to Speak, among other places. Her writing has won numerous awards, including the 2015 Louise Louis/Emily F. Bourne Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America, the 2016 Adroit Prize for Prose, and a 2017 Glenna Luschei Award from Prairie Schooner. Her first book Fleshgraphs appeared from Nightboat Books in September 2016. She was born in 1999.
Finalist: Kwoya Fagin Maples, Mend
|Autobiography of a Wound|
|Short Fiction||Sue Miller||
Winner: Jon Chopan
Sue Miller, Judge: "These twelve stories, each narrated by a different veteran of the Iraq war, divide evenly between the often near-hallucinatory events of that war and the account of life back home in its aftermath. Sometime sad, sometime horrifying, often hilarious—occasionally all three simultaneously—each story bears down on moments of such searing honesty that it lingers in the reader’s memory as urgently as it lives on the page. This is an unsparing, vital, and completely engaging work of art."
Jon Chopan is an assistant professor of creative writing at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL. His first collection, Pulled From the River, was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2012. His work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Hotel Amerika, Post Road, Epiphany, The Southampton Review, and elsewhere.
Finalist: Adam Stumacher, Eleven Kinds of Exile
|Veterans Crisis Hotline|
|Creative Nonfiction||Michael Steinberg||
Winner: Paisley Rekdal
Michael Steinberg, Judge: "Paisley Rekdal depicts and examines the far-reaching human effects of the Vietnam War in this deeply affecting, disquieting book. She also interrogates and interprets, from many different perspectives and points of view, the war’s damaging, long-lasting legacy. In beautifully rendered though unsparingly descriptive prose, Rekdal examines the larger scope of this war, most especially, the sheer number of people—refugees, immigrants, and natives alike—who were, as a result, permanently wounded and/or psychologically maimed. In order to piece together this most compelling narrative/meditation, Rekdal becomes, by turns, a fully realized investigative journalist and interviewer; witness and researcher; commentator and cultural critic. I also appreciate that, in her role as the reader’s narrator and guide, she’s always a deeply concerned, passionately engaged, human being."
Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; a hybrid-genre photo-text memoir that combines poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and photography entitled Intimate; and four books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, and Animal Eye, which was a finalist for the 2013 Kingsley Tufts Prize, the Balcones Prize, and winner of the UNT Rilke Prize. Her work has received the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship, and various state arts council awards. Her newest book of poems, Imaginary Vessels, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in November 2016.
Finalists: Wendy Rawlings, The Hiccup and Jacqueline Lyons, Breakdown of Poses
|The Broken Country: On Trauma, A Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam|
|Novel||Karen Tei Yamashita||
Winner: James Janko
Karen Tei Yamashita, Judge: "What if the Cubs won the World Series? What would it mean to lose the curse of failure, and what anyway is the meaning of that curse? This is a romantic fiction of American baseball driven by superstition and enduring loyalty and set against the backdrop of Chicago, its history the converging American center of racial and political turmoil. The other wished for fictions are the presidential candidacy of an African American Muslim woman, supported by the Cub team members, and the infusion of poetry into the games of baseball and politics. The passionate desire of the game is threaded through an equal desire for racial equality and social justice and the history of athletes with political convictions. Narrated by a sardonic aging bench coach, still grasping for a last chance and revitalization and beset by contemporary changes of race and gender to his iconic (white) American game, this romantic comedy is crafted with careful tension, all the gripping pacing and rhythms in play. Rummaging through and lifting the love letters, poetry, and opinion articles of his team, the bench coach/clubhouse thief gets an education and an epiphany. Not an avid fan nor very knowledgeable about baseball, I followed every pitch, hit, and steal with the same intensity of the telling, and I realize that I, too, really wanted the Cubs to win. Hilarious and heartbreaking."
James Janko’s novel, Buffalo Boy And Geronimo (Curbstone Press), received wide critical acclaim and two awards: The Association of Asian American Studies 2006 Prose Award and the 2007 Northern California Book Award for Fiction. His short stories have appeared in the Massachusetts Review, the Sun, and numerous other magazines. Janko won the 2002 Illinois Arts Council Award for Fiction.
|The Clubhouse Thief|
Winner: Lauren Clark
Vijay Seshadri, Judge: "Lauren Clark’s imagination is, paradoxically, both torrential and discriminating. She is deeply serious and funny at the same time. Her writing is forceful and self-delighting yet minutely attentive to the world’s particulars. She deploys in her stunning poems the maximum amount of intellectual power consistent with her delicacy of perception, her subtle sonic and rhetorical modulations, and her emotional honesty and vulnerability. Her poems are a marriage and reconciliation of many if not all the disparate, contradictory,and opposing elements of our experience."
Lauren Clark is a poet and classicist. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Michigan, where she was the recipient of multiple Hopwood Awards and a Civitas Fellowship with InsideOut Literary Arts. She works at Poets House in New York City and collaborates with Etc. Gallery in Chicago.
Finalist: Joyce Sutphen, Paper Camera
|Music for a Wedding|
|Short Fiction||Amy Hempel||
Winner: Mary Kuryla
Amy Hempel, Judge: "There is a feral quality to some of these stories, an attitude that is truly startling. The language is perfectly matched to the not-so-conflicted women living off venison, weed, and their husband’s paychecks. The territory here is sometimes disturbing; the treatment of these people who are in over their heads is always both tough and surprisingly moving. The “action” resides as much in the brisk, fresh language as in what these people conjure in a crisis. Ultimately, the author delivers stories unlike anyone else’s."
Mary Kuryla’s stories have received the Pushcart Prize and have appeared in several literary journals. With a winning story in the July 2015 Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Prize, she also has a story forthcoming in The Normal School. Her award-winning shorts and feature films have premiered at Sundance and Toronto. She has written screen adaptations for United Artists and MGM, and she has been a scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the New York Summer Writers Institute.
Finalist: John Blair, White Sands
|Freak Weather Stories|
|Creative Nonfiction||Lia Purpura||No winner|
Winner: Carol Zoref
Paul Harding, Judge: Barren Island is a wonderful synthesis of character and history. From the moment Marta Eisenstein Lane begins to tell us about her remarkable family’s lives on the rank, forsaken sand bar of Barren Shoal, rendering animal carcasses into glue, the author immerses us in a world most readers would never otherwise have known existed. As squalid and hardscrabble as these lives may be, they are also suffused with strange beauty and love by Marta’s solicitude and honesty. Barren Island is big-hearted, generous, and fascinating.
Carol Zoref is a fiction writer and essayist. She is on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College. She also teaches at New York University. She is married to photographer Pamela Walter, with whom she lives in New York City.
Finalist: Sharon Solwitz, Once, In Lourdes
|Poetry||Crystal Ann Williams||
Winner: Marci Calabretta
Crystal Ann Williams, Judge: "Hour of the Ox is a timeless collection written by a poet of exceptional talent and grace, a voice as tough as it is tender. Poignant and beautifully composed, these elegies hum with emotional potency and moved me beyond measure. This immigrant story emerges through the hands, mouths, hearts, mournings, and voices of a family an ocean away and is exquisite, lyrical, and an incredible and rare gift. And then there is the brother who gently haunts this book and who will haunt readers, for just as we walk with our dead, so too does this brother with his sister, who lovingly illuminates his memory. I wanted to read these poems again and again. They have created shadows that this reader continues to carry, explore—and savor."
Marci Calabretta is the recipient of poetry fellowships from Kundiman and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Her work has appeared most recently in Thrush, Lunch Ticket, and American Letters & Commentary. Her chapbook, Last Train to the Midnight Market, was published by Finishing Line Press. She is co-founder and managing editor for Print-Oriented Bastards, and assistant editor for Jai-Alai Magazine, founded by P. Scott Cunningham as a subsidiary of the O, Miami Poetry Festival.
|Hour of the Ox|
|Short Fiction||Nahid Rachlin||
Winner: Eric Neuenfeldt
Nahid Rachlin, Judge: This well-crafted collection focuses on American-born characters—underclass, poor drifters. Strewn, along with images of bums, cripples, addicts, gutted houses, trash-covered streets, and wrecked farms, are images of startling beauty. The depiction of the physically and psychologically injured characters achieves lightness because of the enchanting writing style, the fact that they usually deal with their situations stoically, and most of all the strain of humor running through the stories. The prose is sparse, but the universe the author creates is deep and full of underlying reverberations of questions and sometimes answers, as the characters move through their days that are filled with obstacles and tragedies.
Eric Neuenfeldt's work has appeared in The Paris Review Daily, Confrontation, REAL: Regarding Arts & Letters, and elsewhere. His chapbook of stories, Fall Ends Tomorrow, won the 2010 Iron Horse Literary Review Single-Author Competition. He lives in Reno, Nevada.
Finalist: Stephanie Han, Swimming in Hong Kong
|Creative Nonfiction||John Phillip Santos||
Winner: Sarah Einstein
John Phillip Santos, Judge: Mot, A Memoir is a stirring work of self-discovery that manages to be both profoundly vulnerable and emotionally ferreous, as the compelling narrator accounts her puzzling, almost compulsive empathy for Mot, a homeless schizophrenic man she befriends through a shelter program. The language is frank, often austere, even haunting, and the author’s willingness to confront the proliferating uncertainties of her own life gradually attains a brave literary grace. I was delighted by how, amidst the austerity that is her métier, she can suddenly take poetic flight. Speaking of the sight of a row of abandoned cars, she writes, “Like the cattle skulls in cowboy movies, they mark the journeys of people who’ve tried, and failed, the same road we’re traveling.”
Sarah Einstein lives in Athens, OH where she is a PhD student in Creative Nonfiction at Ohio University. Her essays and short stories have previously appeared or are forthcoming in the Sun, Ninth Letter, PANK, Sixfold, and other journals. She has been anthologized in Southern Sin by In Fact Books, and her work appears in the upcoming anthology Writing Into the Forbidden, to be published by Ohio University Press in 2014. Einstein is the author of Remnants of Passion (Shebooks 2014).
Finalist: Peter Selgin for The Inventors, A Memoir
|Mot, A Memoir|
Charles M. Boyer
Winner: Charles M. Boyer
Mary Gaitskill, Judge: History's Child is a work of natural beauty—or rather the beauty of its artifice is so intelligently and lovingly constructed on such a fine-grained level that it appears natural; it mimics the natural world with seeming artlessness. I mean, by that last part, that this book masterfully renders the subtle electricity of life as it flows and flashes through the eyes of people and animals, animating the wings of insects and the strange hearts of human beings; it renders the beauty and mercilessness of the world.
Charles M. Boyer has an M.A. in fiction writing from the University of New Hampshire, and now teaches English and Humanities at Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, Massachusetts. He has received a writing grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board and a Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. His chapbook of poetry, The Mockingbird Puzzle, was published by Finishing Line Press. History’s Child is inspired by and loosely interprets his wife’s father’s experiences during post-World War II opposition to Stalin’s occupation of Poland.
Finalist: Megan Staffel, Seamless
Winner: Iliana Rocha
Joy Harjo, Judge: "These are the poems of a new fire. Raw fire makes a unique trail as it burns. They are fueled by a passionate, lyrical, surrealism. This is a border politics kind of surrealism, emerging from a poetic sensibility in which there are no borders. This collection in essence embodies a fresh kind of creation story emerging from the Americas. It’s like reading Rimbaud for the first time. We are struck by an unabashed presence of a fearless singer."
Iliana Rocha is originally from Texas and is currently a PhD candidate in English-Creative Writing at Western Michigan University. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from Arizona State University, where she was Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. Until recently, she taught composition and rhetoric at ASU and developmental writing at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. Her work was chosen to be featured in Best New Poets 2014 and has previously appeared in Blackbird, Yalobusha Review, and Puerto del Sol.
Finalist: Kim Garcia, The Brighter House
|Short Fiction||Jaime Manrique||
Susan Muaddi Darraj
Winner: Susan Muaddi Darraj
Jaime Manrique, Judge: These linked stories about the people of the village of Tel al-Hilou, and their descendants in today’s United States of America, span over a century. The author’s empathy for the large cast of embattled characters is miraculous. In particular, we get to know the quietly heroic Palestinian women in these stories as intimately as we know the people closest to us. Astonishingly, this collection is, above all, about the transformative powers of love.
Susan Muaddi Darraj's previous short story collection, The Inheritance of Exile (University of Notre Dame Press, 2007) was recognized by the US State Department's Arabic Book Program. Her stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in New York Stories, Orchid Literary Review, Banipal, Mizna, al-Jadid, and several anthologies. She is an editor at Barrelhouse Magazine, a literary journal that celebrates the intersection of literature and pop culture, and a recipient of an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council.
Finalist: Josh Barkan, Mexico: A Collection of Stories
|A Curious Land: Stories from Home|
|Creative Nonfiction||Bernard Cooper||
Winner: Sarah Gorham
Bernard Cooper, Judge: Study In Perfect is a book that wholeheartedly delves into “ …the many faceted idea of perfection.” Drawing from the realms of science, philosophy, linguistics, social history, and personal reminiscence, the writer uses the abundance of knowledge and intuition at her disposal to define these facets. In doing so, she probes the human capacity to imagine perfection and to seek its illusive promise despite the odds against finding it. In many ways, this is a book about yearning and imperfection as much it is about the ideals we strive for, and the author’s humanizing touch makes Study In Perfect not only informative, but emotionally rewarding as well. It’s not often that I encounter a writer whose prose is this precise and lyrical, and whose imaginative leaps are as articulate, unpredictable, and entertaining.
Sarah Gorham is the author of four collections of poetry: Bad Daughter (2011), The Cure (2003), The Tension Zone (1996), which won the 1994 Four Way Books Award in Poetry, judged by Heather McHugh, and Don’t Go Back to Sleep (1989). She co-edited the anthology Last Call: Poems on Alcoholism, Addiction, and Deliverance, with Jeffrey Skinner, published in 1997 by Sarabande Books. Gorham’s poems have been published widely in Best American Poetry, Poetry, the Nation, American Poetry Review, the Paris Review, and other magazines. Her essays have appeared in the Iowa Review, AGNI, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, Arts & Letters, Quarterly West, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the NEA and grants from the Kentucky, Delaware, and Connecticut Arts Councils.Gorham cofounded Sarabande Books, where she serves as President and Editor-in-Chief.
Finalist: Neil Mathison, Volcano: An A to Z and Other Essays about Geology and Geo-Travel in the American West
|Study in Perfect|
Winner: Matthew Burriesci
Charles Yu, Judge: The prose is cut with a sharp tool from stone, words and sentences fitting together just right, with nothing seeming to be wasted or out of place. The dry, bleak wit, unrelenting and consistently funny, reminds me more than a little of Helen DeWitt. And, like A.M. Homes, the writer has this amazing ability to generate and sustain forward narrative velocity almost completely from the twin engines of dim hope and awful dread - this sense of rolling forward toward disaster. Above all, though, it's the writer's tone that really floored me. A number of different formal devices and modes are used, always to great effect, and throughout, the novel never loses its nuanced, dark, and funny tone, all of which is tempered by a small kernel of warmth, love and buried optimism at the core of the story. For any novel to have such a dense, layered tone throughout is impressive…
Matthew Burriesci is the author of Dead White Guys: A Father, His Daughter, and the Great Books of the Western World. His fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines. Burriesci served as the Executive Director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. From 1999-2011, he served in various capacities at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP), including the organization’s acting Executive Director. From 1997-1999, he served as the Marketing Manager for the Tony-Award winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. He received his BA in English & Rhetoric from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, he studied Shakespeare during an Honors Seminar at Oxford University, and he received his MFA from George Mason University in 2002.
Finalist: Trudy Lewis, The Empire Rolls
|Poetry||D. A. Powell||
Winner: Kirsten Kaschock
D. A. Powell: "Inventive & exhilarating, Kirsten Kaschock's The Dottery tells the story of mutters and dotters in fresh, bracingly original language. Dolls, surrogates, goldie (who 'was lock, lock, locked') and mannequins play out this keen allegory of gender in ways that are both astonishing and terrifying. Kaschock is an alchemist—you will be changed."
Kirsten Kaschock is the author of two previous books of poetry: Unfathoms (Slope Editions) and A Beautiful Name for a Girl (Ahsahta Press). Her debut novel, Sleight, a work of speculative fiction, was published by Coffee House Press. A chapbook WindowBoxing is forthcoming from Bloof Books. She has earned a PhD in English from the University of Georgia and a PhD in dance from Temple University. Kirsten is the Viebranz Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at St. Lawrence for 2013-14. She resides in Philadelphia with Dan Marenda and their three children.
Finalist: Leora Fridman, The Riots
|Short Fiction||Pam Houston||
Winner: Carla Panciera
Pam Houston, Judge: Apart from range in Bewildered, the level of excellence lies in the ways in which the author navigates so many different kinds of territories—first person, second person, third person, the canted realities of childhood, the accumulating losses of middle, and even old age. The writing is always economical without ever being minimal. Each sentence is made, full of suggestion, layered in understory. Attention is paid not only to meaning on every level, but also to rhythm, to cadence: here is a prose writer who, among many other things, cares about the sounds of words. There were many such moments in this manuscript, but the moment that won the Grace Paley Prize for Bewildered is in the title story. I don’t know if you can write a funnier, more poignant, more layered, harder working scene than the one that ends with the word “Bewildered.” It is a scene that the great Grace Paley herself, I believe, would have loved.
Carla Panciera is the author of two collections of poetry, One of the Cimalores (Cider Press) and No Day, No Dusk, No Love (Bordighera). She has published fiction, memoir, and poetry in several journals including the New England Review, Nimrod, the Chattahoochee Review, and Carolina Quarterly. A high school English teacher, Carla lives with her husband and three daughters in in Rowley, Massachusetts.
Finalist: Bradford Tice, Missionaries
|Creative Nonfiction||Terry Tempest Williams||
Winner: Julian Hoffman
Terry Tempest Williams, Judge: The Small Heart of Things is an elegant ecotone between people in place; culture and landscape among the borderlands of Greece. To labor; to place one's hands in the furrows of the field; to stand against the sky among flocks of finches and redstarts is to feel at home in the world. This writer is a seeker and seer among those who work the land within the cycles of time. He knows how to listen and not simply catalog nature, both human and wild, but create a tapestry of embodied stories born out of the intimate wisdom, of sweat and hunger and an earthly intelligence. At a time when we wonder where hope resides, this is a book of faith in the natural histories of community, broken and sustained. Not only does the language honor the encountered beauties along the way, it explores a complexity of ideas that reminds us we are not strangers in the world if we remain open to awe and respectful of the tenacious spirit required to live in place. The Small Heart of Things is a book of patience.
Julian Hoffman was born in England and grew up in Canada. In 2000, he and his partner Julia moved to the Prespa Lakes in northern Greece where, after some years as market gardeners, they now work as ornithologists, monitoring birds in sensitive upland areas where wind farms have been built or proposed. His essay 'Faith in a Forgotten Place,' which is taken from the manuscript of The Small Heart of Things, won the 2011 Terrain.org Nonfiction Prize. Other writing has recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in Kyoto Journal, Southern Humanities Review, EarthLines, Flyway, Three Coyotes, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and The Redwood Coast Review. You can catch up with him at www.julian-hoffman.com
Finalist: Annya Broderick — from elle a.
|The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World|
Winner: Andrew Ladd
Kathryn Davis, Judge: This remarkable, haunting novel tells the story of the McCloud family and their life on Eilean Fior, a very small island off the northwest coast of Scotland. The clarity of Andrew Ladd’s prose is as deceptive as the clues to the cryptic crossword puzzles George McCloud, the family patriarch, is obsessed with solving. The book’s true subject is time, the island not only a place but also the uncanny, enclosing moment. In What Ends “time isn’t passing, it’s circling,” and the story of one family’s life on a Hebridean island becomes an apocalyptic vision of what it means to live in time, that “blink of stone on a giant sea.”
Andrew Ladd holds a BA from McGill University in Montreal and an MFA from Emerson College in Boston. His master's thesis, an earlier draft of What Ends written under the guidance of Margot Livesey, was nominated for the Emerson Dean’s Award and, most recently, was a semifinalist in the 2012 Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award. His short fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Apalachee Review, CICADA, and Paper Darts, and his essays in Memoir (and), Open Letters Monthly, PANK’s “This Modern Writer” series, The Rumpus, and others. He grew up in Scotland and now lives in Brooklyn, where he writes for a living and is the Book Reviews Editor for the Ploughshares Blog.
Finalist: Pamela Kearney —The Sunflower Wife
Joan Naviyuk Kane
Winner: Joan Naviyuk Kane
Arthur Sze, Judge: “Arnica nods heavy-headed on the bruised slope.” In these vivid, disturbing, and mysterious poems, written in English and Inupiaq, Joan Kane writes out of the landscape and language of the far north. Hyperboreal is situated at a threshold between cultures, between inner and outer worlds, and the poems are voiced with a “knife blade at the throat's slight swell.” Her compelling vision is earned through a language that will dislocate in order to relocate and whose tonal shifts are exact and exacting.
Joan Naviyuk Kane is Inupiaq with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo, Alaska. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and her MFA from Columbia University. She was a 2006 semi-finalist for the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets and a finalist for the Poetry Foundation’s 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship. She received a 2004 John Haines Award from Ice Floe Press, a 2007 individual artist award from the Rasmuson Foundation, the 2009 Connie Boochever Fellowship from the Alaska State Council on the Arts, a 2009 National Native Creative Development Program grant, and the 2010 Alaska Conservation Foundation’s Native Writers on the Environment award. She received a 2009 Whiting Writers’ Award for her first poetry collection, The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife, published in its first edition by NorthShore Press Alaska and in its second edition by the University of Alaska Press. Along with her husband and toddler sons, she lives in Anchorage, Alaska
Finalist: Katharine Whitcomb — Summer, Posthumous
|Short Fiction||Dan Chaon||
Winner: Lucas Southworth
Dan Chaon, Judge: Everyone Here Has a Gun took me on a roller coaster ride that I’d never been on before. It shares some of its headspace with the stories of Angela Carter and Robert Coover, a touch of David Foster Wallace’s Girl With Curious Hair and Kevin Brockmeier and Kelly Link—but ultimately these stories are sui generis. Every piece is strikingly different, and yet there’s also a cohesion to the collection that plunged me deeply into this writer’s alien yet weirdly familiar world, as if I’d been dreaming someone else’s dream. There are images and moments in each of these stories that have lodged into my brain like shrapnel. A truly unique and memorable reading experience.
Lucas Southworth received his MFA in fiction from the University of Alabama, where he is an Instructor in English. He is also a co-partner and editor of Slash Pine Press, an initiative that specializes in community outreach and publishing chapbooks with undergraduate interns. His stories have appeared in Mid-American Review, West Branch, PANK, Willow Springs, and others. He grew up in Oak Park, IL, and also holds degrees from Knox College and Iowa State University.
Finalist: Graham Arnold — A Chorus of Bombs: Japan Stories
|Everyone Here Has a Gun|
|Creative Nonfiction||Susan Orlean||
Winner: Marcia Aldrich
Susan Orlean, Judge: Exquisitely sad but painstaking in its clarity, Companion to an Untold Story is an effort to understand a friend’s decision to commit suicide. The author lays out the facts and emotions using the structure of an abecedary, as if the simplicity of a child’s alphabet book could bring logic to the terrible puzzle of loss. There is no suspense in the outcome, but reading the book draws you in so intimately that you, too, feel an urgent need to understand why an intelligent, likeable man would choose, with great deliberateness, to kill himself. This is a difficult subject, written extraordinarily well: a winner.
Marcia Aldrich teaches creative writing at Michigan State University. She is the author of Girl Rearing, published by W.W. Norton and part of the Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers Series. She has had essays appear in The Best American Essays, The Beacon Book of Essays by Contemporary American Women, and a wide range of literary magazines such as The North American Review, The Seneca Review, The Gettysburg Review. She has been the editor of Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction. In 2010 she was the recipient of the Distinguished Professor of The Year Award for the state of Michigan.
Creative Nonfiction Finalist: Cole Cohen- Brains
|Companion to an Untold Story|
Winner: Kirstin Scott
Don Lee, Judge: Told with dazzling prose, Motherlunge is a wry, luminous exploration of the legacy of motherhood—here, about the afflictions that may cycle through generations. Thea, the novel’s young narrator, escapes the doldrums of her mother’s manic depression to visit her sister, Pavia, who is pregnant. Yet when Pavia’s behavior begins to echo their mother’s instability, Thea must step in to care for her sister and her baby, and make some decisions about her own burgeoning desire for children. This is a thoroughly engaging novel, with wonderful turns of phrase in every sentence, and its witty humor announces a welcome new voice in American fiction, full of charm and tender wisdom.
Kirstin Scott won the Original Writing Competition sponsored by the Utah Arts Council, and her stories have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Sonora Review, Western Humanities Review, and elsewhere. She works as a medical writer and lives in Salt Lake City, UT with her husband and two children.
Novel Finalist: Don Waters, Sunland
Winner: Laura Read
Dorianne Laux, Judge: “Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral uncovers the mysteries of girlhood in haunting tableaus and synesthesiac encounters with the past and then gradually moves us into the domestic present. The death of a father and re-marriage of a mother, a complicated relationship with a brother, seen through a child’s eyes; a house stoppered like a bottle where she sits alone in the quiet aftermath. Strange in that way all art is strange, light come to light, but always a palpable darkness riding beneath; a mature lyrical voice translating memory’s turbulent, wordless world.”
Laura Read teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses at Spokane Falls Community College. She has published poems in a variety of journals, most recently in Rattle, the Mississippi Review, Third Wednesday, and the Bellingham Review. Her chapbook, The Chewbacca on Hollywood Boulevard Reminds Me of You, was the 2010 winner of the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award. She lives in Spokane, Washington with her husband, Brad, and their two sons, Benjamin and Matthew.
Poetry Finalist: Tim Skeen, Six Coefficients of Friction
|Instructions for My Mother's Funeral|
|Short Fiction||Jhumpa Lahiri||
Winner: Corinna Vallianatos
Jhumpa Lahiri, Judge: With the spare, definitive strokes of Matisse’s late portraits, the stories in My Escapee hew precisely to the truth, while rendering a series of expressive and particular female lives. The characters are disoriented, vulnerable, at times dependent on others; they are also determined, defiant, passionate. One admires their self-awareness, one forgives them their imperfections, one feels keenly their isolation. The language is lucid, forceful, in turns unassuming and startling. Read together, these stories navigate an intimate landscape of fault lines, of grottoes of emotions, of stark passages and significant crossings. Vivid, whimsical, and restrained, they introduce a mature voice, an affecting and bracing debut.
Corinna Vallianatos’s stories have appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, A Public Space, the Gettysburg Review, Epoch, and elsewhere. She was recently awarded a fellowship from The MacDowell Colony. She lives with her husband and son in Claremont, California.
Short Fiction Finalist: Adrianne Harun- Lost in the War of the Beautiful Lads
|Creative Nonfiction||Luis Alberto Urrea||
Danielle Cadena Deulen
Winner: Danielle Cadena Deulen
Luis Alberto Urrea, Judge: There are moments of transcendent prose in this manuscript that elevates it far beyond what we might expect of it at first blush. It manages to become more profound, and more beautiful, the more desperate and tragic its trajectory. Finally, it is a triumph of wisdom and great art.
Danielle Cadena Deulen is an essayist and poet. Her first collection of poems, Lovely Asunder, won the Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize and will be published with the University of Arkansas Press in spring 2011. Formerly, she was a Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow with the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has received three Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry prizes (2007 , 2008, 2010) and a Virginia Center for Creative Arts fellowship. Her poetry has appeared most recently in Smartish Pace, Best New Poets 2009, and the Indiana Review, and her essays are forthcoming in the Iowa Review and American Literary Review. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University, and is currently a PhD candidate in English at the University of Utah.
Creative Nonfiction Finalist: Philip Gerard - More Things in Heaven and Earth: True Adventures in This Mysterious Life
Winner: Mandy Keifetz
Francine Prose, Judge: I was drawn to the sheer strangeness of the writer's project: the lyrical, tough-talking high-low lament of a Jersey Girl who cannot, who will not, and who essentially luxuriates in her refusal to get over the suicide of her lover. A simultaneously reckless and calculated intensity permeates this novel, in which the most important event has already happened, and the narrative arc (if we can call it that) is mostly ruminative and interior. Fairly soon, we realize that the narrator is playing with language, with the alphabet, even; it's not accidental that the epigraph is taken from Georges Bataille. But for me the real surprises were less about letters than about voice, about sentences and about the paragraphs that nearly always ended in a different place (and more interestingly) than I might have predicted.
Mandy Keifetz lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in Penthouse, Vogue, QW, the Review of Contemporary Fiction, the Comics Journal, Lou-Lou, the New York Press, Our Town, Manhattan Spirit, and many others. Corrido (represented in the U.S. by Malaga Baldi and in the U.K. by Annina Meyerhans at The Marsh Agency; optioned by Laura Phillips at Hanthum Films, U.K.) was her first novel and was favorably reviewed in several journals and on radio shows, and selected as a best first novel out of New York by the Library Journal. Entertainment Weekly called it “an intoxicating cocktail of sex and death.” Keifet was a Fellow with the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2002, and her plays have been staged in London at the Young Vic, in Cambridge at the Junction Theater, and at the Judith E. Wilson Studio, in Montréal at the Théâtre Ste. Catherine, in Oslo at the Samtidsfestivalen, and in New York at Where Eagles Dare Studios. She is an occasional MFA dissertation defense panelist at UMASS, Amherst.
Novel Finalist: Tim Schell - The Memoir of Jake Weedsong
|Flea Circus: A Brief Bestiary of Grief|
Winner: Quan Barry
Alberto Ríos, Judge: These poems impress with the enormous and energetic distances they travel. More impressive, however, is the focus they show on arrival. We are everywhere, but everywhere is distinctly somewhere—and often dangerous. These words are the essence of displacement. Yet these poems do not stop there, are not so easy on themselves, speaking in clear voice for the new as well as the past. They relentlessly address their—and our—changing and unchanging world against the loose backdrop of Vietnamese water-puppet theater, whose imaginative traditions show themselves in repeatedly memorable moments. These poems may move on water, but their voices do not falter.
Quan Barry is the author of the poetry collections Asylum and Controvertibles, both published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. She currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin.
Poetry Finalists: David Keplinger- Anatomies; Tana Jean Welch- Cannon Splinter; Josiah Bancroft- The Death of Giants
|Short Fiction||Peter Ho Davies||
Winner: Douglas Light
Peter Ho Davies, Judge: A collection - any collection, whether of art, or stories, or Hummel figurines - implies two questions. How are these things similar and, more subtley, how are they different? Girls in Trouble, fittingly, takes difference as its great subject - the differences between men and women, here and there, facts and truth. It's the acute, exacting scrutiny of what lies between these pairings - the history between a man and a woman, the mystery between fact and truth, the "somewhere between where we don't want to be and where we're going," as one character puts it - that truly distinguishes this work. From terse and diverse fragments, [the author] has assembled a coherent, echoing vision of the world between - a world we all, in our own ways, inhabit.
Douglas Light is the author of the novel East Fifth Bliss, which won the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Fiction. The screen adaptation, which he co-wrote, was filmed in 2010. It stars Golden Globe winner Michael C. Hall, Lucy Liu, Peter Fonda, and Brie Larson. Light received a 2010 NoMAA/JP Morgan writers grant, was selected as a finalist for the 2002 James Jones First Novel Fellowship, and has been published in Narrative, Guernica, Alaska Quarterly Review, Failbetter, among other publications. His fiction was selected for inclusion in O. Henry Prize Stories 2003 and Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003 anthologies. He lives in New York City. More information is available at www.douglaslight.com.
Short Fiction Finalists: Jim Gavin- Middle Men; Donna Miscolta- Natalie Wood's Fake Puerto Rican Accent and Other Stories
|Girls in Trouble|
|Creative Nonfiction||Lee Gutkind||
Winner: David Vann
Lee Gutkind, Judge: I hated reading Last Day on Earth, but I kept coming back to it. Each chapter was taut, mysterious and compelling. And when I did stop reading–I devoured it in three sittings--I was haunted by Steve, a mass murderer, and his slow, steady transformation from Dean's Award winner to shooter. What makes this book especially appealing is the parallel narrative–the writer living a screwed up childhood, who, like Steve, finds himself in the possession of many guns and the urge to use them and potentially do harm. What the writer discovers is that the line between self destruction and survival and success is frighteningly easy to cross. Last Day on Earth is written with a cold staccato passion–with intensive attention to intimacy of detail. It is riveting reading.'
David Vann’s story collection, Legend of a Suicide, was the winner of the 2007 Grace Paley Prize and a California Book Award and was named a Notable Book of 2008 by the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, and the Story Prize. The paperback will come out from HarperCollins in January 2010, the UK and Commonwealth edition from Viking UK in October 2009. The book will also appear in French and Italian. A contributor to many journals, Vann is also author of the best-selling memoir, A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea, and a forthcoming novel, Caribou Island (HarperCollins 2011). He’s been featured in documentaries by the BBC, NOVA, and CNN and sold the film rights to his unpublished memoir, Crocodile: Memoirs From a Mexican Drug-Running Port. He’s been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a Wallace Stegner Fellow, and a John L’Heureux Fellow, and has taught at Stanford and Cornell, where he received his degrees, and he is currently a professor at the University of San Francisco. His website is www.davidvann.com.
|Last Day on Earth|
Winner: Kevin Fenton
Jim Shepard, Judge: Merit Badges lays out for the reader an entire, if circumscribed, world, in all of its limitations and surprising possibilities, rendered with a heartening intelligence and tenderness and wit — "The weather was like me, only more so. The weather needed some counseling" — and in so doing reminds us of Simone Weil's understanding that attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.
Kevin Fenton lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and works as an advertising writer and creative director. He has published stories in the Laurel Review, the Northwest Review, and Emprise Review; poetry in the Beloit Poetry Journal, and reviews and essays in Rain Taxi, the design quarterlies Émigré and Eye (London), and the Minneapolis StarTribune. An essay was anthologized in Looking Closer 2: Critical Writing On Graphic Design. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. He serves on the board of two organizations: Rain Taxi Review of Books and the Innocence Project of Minnesota.
Novel Finalist: Stephen Minot, Women of the House
Winner: Bradley Paul
Jean Valentine, Judge: In this original and wonderfully energetic book, Bradley Paul moves from humor to mockery to play to anger to grief, and sometimes all at once. This poetry shifts, it slams, it hammers, it thinks; it corrodes our sorrow and foolishness; it captures our national haplessness, sad and firing and still.
Bradley Paul was born in Baltimore in 1972. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Pleiades, Smartish Pace, Boston Review, and other journals. His first book of poetry, The Obvious, was selected by Brenda Hillman for the 2004 New Issues Poetry Prize. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the painter and writer Karri Paul, and their dog, Violet.
Poetry Finalist: Jennifer Fumiko Cahill, The Fox Bride
|The Animals All Are Gathering|
|Short Fiction||Allan Gurganus||
Winner: Christine Sneed
Allan Gurganus, Judge: If this story-collection crackles with the energy of youth, it also feels written by a cool-eyed soul reincarnated at least three times. The fiction shows a stringent, inevitable sense of narrative patterning. Though these tales are based in quirky character, plot unfolds from them with twists and doublings-back that keep us first off-guard then hooked.
Christine Sneed is a graduate of the MFA writing program at Indiana University and has published stories in Best American Short Stories 2008, New England Review, Massachusetts Review, Meridian, Other Voices, Greensboro Review, River Styx, Phoebe, South Dakota Review, and several other journals. She has been awarded an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in poetry and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize four times. She lives in Evanston, IL and teaches creative writing and literature courses at DePaul University in Chicago.
Short Fiction Finalist: Jane Bradley, Are We Lucky Yet?
|Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry|
|Creative Nonfiction||Kathleen Norris||
Winner: Sonja Livingston
Kathleen Norris, Judge:
Sonja Livingston’s nonfiction has been honored with a NYFA Fellowship, an Iowa Review Award, Pushcart Prize nomination, and grants from Vermont Studio Center and The Deming Fund, as well as an AWP Intro Award. Her work has appeared in many literary journals including the Iowa Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Southeast Review, AGNI, the Spoon River Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, and is anthologized in SHORT TAKES and THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER. Sonja holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans and an M.S. Ed. from SUNY Brockport. She teaches in UCLA Extension’s Writing Program.
Creative Nonfiction Finalist: Rebecca McClanahan, Coming of (a Certain) Age in New York City: Essays and Exhalations
Winner: Goldie Goldbloom
Joanna Scott, Judge:
Goldie Goldbloom's stories have appeared in StoryQuarterly and Narrative Magazine. She lives in Chicago and has eight children.
|Toad's Museum of Freaks and Wonders|
Winner: Beth Bachmann
Lynn Emanuel, Judge:
Beth Bachmann’s poems appear in American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Kenyon Review, Southern Review, and Tin House, among other journals, and are forthcoming in Ploughshares. Her work has been honored with a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission and has been anthologized in Best New Poets 2005 and 2007. She holds graduate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars and Concordia University in Montreal. She teaches creative writing at Vanderbilt University.
Poetry Finalist: Sam Witt, Occupation: Dreamland
|Short Fiction||Jewell Parker Rhodes||
Winner: Ramola D
Jewell Parker Rhodes, Judge:
Ramola D teaches creative writing at The George Washington University and The Writer’s Center, Bethesda. Her short fiction, poetry, and writer-interviews have appeared in several journals. Her fiction was shortlisted under 100 Other Distinguished Stories in Best American Stories 2007, and included in Best American Fantasy 2007 and Enhanced Gravity: More Fiction by Washington DC Women Writers (Paycock Press, 2006). A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in poetry in 2005, her poetry collection Invisible Season won the 1998 Washington Writers’ Publishing House award. Her poetry has been reprinted in Best American Poetry 1994, appeared on metro buses in Arlington, Virginia as winner of a Moving Words poetry competition (April-Sept. 2005), and been translated into dance through Jane Franklin’s Dancing the Page program (April 2006).
|Temporary Lives & Other Stories|
|Creative Nonfiction||Michael Martone||
Winner: Sharon White
Michael Martone, Judge:
Sharon White is the author of a collection of poetry, Bone House. Her memoir, Field Notes, A Geography of Mourning, received the Julia Ward Howe Prize, Honorable Mention from the Boston Author’s Club. Other awards include a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship for Creative Nonfiction, the Leeway Award for Achievement, a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in prose. Her poems, essays, and articles have appeared in many magazines and journals including Isotope, House Beautiful, Appalachia, Kalliope and North American Review. She lives in Philadelphia and teaches writing at Temple University.
Creative Nonfiction Finalist: Patrick Madden, Quotidiana
Winner: Scott Blackwood
Robert Eversz, Judge:
Scott Blackwood's award-winning collection of stories, In the Shadow of Our House, was published by SMU Press in 2001. His fiction has appeared most recently in the Gettysburg Review, Boston Review and Southwest Review, and the title story from his collection is featured on the New York Times Book Review's "First Chapters" website. While on a Dobie-Paisano fellowship in 2005, he completed We Agreed to Meet Just Here, a novel set in the Deep Eddy Neighborhood of Austin, Texas. Blackwood holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. He currently directs the Roosevelt University MFA Program.
Novel Finalist: Peter Selgin, Life Goes to the Movies
|We Agreed to Meet Just Here|
Winner: Sharon Dolin
Bob Hicok, Judge:
Sharon Dolin is the author of three books of poems: Realm of the Possible (Four Way Books, 2004), Serious Pink (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), and Heart Work (The Sheep Meadow Press, 1995), as well as five poetry chapbooks. A poem from her winning poetry manuscript, Burn and Dodge, is forthcoming in the Best American Poetry, 2007, edited by Heather McHugh, and another is in the new Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative Poetry published by Green Integer. Dolin is Poet-in-Residence at Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts. She has also taught for many years at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street in New York City. She directs The Center for Book Arts Annual Letterpress Poetry Chapbook Competition and is a Curator for their Broadsides Reading Series.
Poetry Finalist: Jack Martin, Marimba This, Marimba That
|Burn and Dodge|
|Short Fiction||Noy Holland||
Winner: David Vann
Noy Holland, Judge:
David Vann is author of the bestselling memoir A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea. He has features forthcoming in Esquire, Men’s Journal, Outside, and Outside’s GO. His work has also appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Writer’s Digest, StoryQuarterly, and other magazines and won various awards. Vann has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow and John L’Heureux Fellow, taught at Stanford and Cornell, and is now a professor at FSU. www.davidvann.com
Short Fiction Finalist: Dylan Landis, Normal People Don't Live Like This
|Legend of a Suicide|
|Creative Nonfiction||Kyoko Mori||
Judge: Kyoko Mori
Mort Zachter grew up believing his Lower East Side baker family was poor. At thirty-six, he discovered the family secret: he is a second generation, perhaps even third-generation, millionaire. Dough is his story. His essays have appeared, or are pending, in Fourth Genre, Moment, Weatherwise, and the Kelsey Literary Review. In the spring of 2006, he gave a public reading of his work at the 92nd Street Y in NYC. In a prior life, he was an attorney/CPA and adjunct tax professor at NYU. He lives in Princeton, N.J. with his wife and children.
Creative Nonfiction Finalist: Marilyn Moriarty, Dressed Up Like Planets and Dancing
|Dough: A Memoir|
Judge: Nicholas Delbanco
Geoff Rips was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. He received his BA from Wesleyan University and an MA in English/Creative Writing from Indiana University. Rips has been the editor of the Texas Observer, worked with colonias on the Texas/Mexico Border to secure water and wastewater services, and, as a Soros Foundation Fellow, wrote about the function of public schools on the Border as a point of entry into US society. Rips has taught night school at San Antonio Community College, served as policy director for Jim Hightower's Texas Department of Agriculture, worked as speechwriter for a handful of decent politicians, and currently serves as director of special projects for Austin, Texas, public schools. Through it all, he has spent many late nights writing fiction and poetry in a room attached to his garage, and has published short stories, poetry, and criticism in small magazines, journals, and newspapers. He lives in Austin with his elementary school principal wife and two mostly grown, nearly perfect daughters.
Judge: Terrance Hayes
Angela Ball grew up in Athens, Ohio. She got her bachelor’s degree at Ohio University, studying with Stanley Plumly, and earned an MFA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from the University of Denver before joining the faculty of the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. Honors for Ball’s work have included an Individual Writer’s Grant from the NEA, an Arthur J. Schiable Award from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, a teaching residence at the University of Richmond, and invitations to represent the US at festivals in Rotterdam and Bogata. She is poetry editor of Mississippi Review, and has edited a special International Poetry issue and an issue on Poets of the New York School, among others. Ball’s poems and translations have appeared widely in many well-known journals. Her previous books of poetry include Kneeling Between Parked Cars (Owl Creek Press, 1990), Possession (Red Hen, 1995), Quartet (Carnegie Mellon, 1995), and The Museum of the Revolution (Carnegie Mellon, 1999). She lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, with her two dogs, Maggie and Scarlet.
Poetry Finalist: Jericho Brown, Please
|Night Clerk at the Hotel of Both Worlds|
|Short Fiction||Nancy Reisman||
Judge: Nancy Reisman
Karen Brown was born in Connecticut, and attended Cornell University and the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she received an MA in Creative Writing, and is currently pursuing a PhD. Her stories have appeared in or are forthcoming from Epoch, the Georgia Review, StoryQuarterly, Ascent, the Tampa Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The O. Henry Prize Stories, 2006.
Short Fiction Finalst: Tom Noyes, Spooky Action at a Distance and Other Stories
|Pins and Needles|
|Creative Nonfiction||Robin Hemley||
Judge: Robin Hemley
J.D. Scrimgeour coordinates the Creative Writing Program at Salem State College in Salem, Massachusetts. His poetry collection, The Last Miles will be published by Fine Tooth Press in 2005. Essays from Themes For English B have appeared in Boston Globe Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Thought & Action. His essay, “Living the Outfield” won the Writing Baseball contest sponsored by Creative Nonfiction and will appear in the journal’s special issue, “The Anatomy of Baseball.” He lives in Salem with his wife, Eileen FitzGerald, and their two sons.
Creative Nonfiction Finalist: Brenda Miller, Runes and Incantations
|Themes for English B|
Judge: Rikki Ducornet
John Robinson is the author of two novels: January’s Dream and Legends of the Lost. His short stories have appeared or will appear in Ploughshares, the Sewanee Review, and other literary journals. As a dramatist, he has had two plays performed in the past year: Through the Looking-Glass Diner and Kansas. Kansas was a finalist/winner in the Boston Globe Drama Festival One-Act Competition, and a finalist in the New England Drama Festival.
Novel Finalist: Gretchen Henderson, The House Enters the Street
Judge: Ha Jin
John Hodgen is a faculty member of the English Department at Assumption college. He is the author of In My Father’s House, winner of the 1993 Bluestem Award from Emporia State University in Kansas, and Bread Without Sorrow (2001) winner of the Balcones Poetry Prize (2002), published by Lynx House Press, Spokane, Washington. He is the winner of the 2005 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize from Hunger Mountain ( Vermont College) and the 2005 Foley Poetry Prize from America Magazine. He is married, with two daughters.
Poetry Finalists: Paul Martin, Closing Distances; Helen Cho, Souvenirs and Landmines
|Short Fiction||Ana Menendez||
Judge: Ana Menendez
Nona Caspers is an Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University. Her short fiction has received an Iowa Fiction Award from the Iowa Review, a Barbara Deming Memorial Grant and Award, and a Joseph Henry Jackson Literary Grant and Award. Her work has appeared recently in The Iowa Review, Cimarron Review, Blithe House Quarterly, and Fourteen Hills. She is the author of The Blessed and is currently at work on A Book of One Hundred Days.
Short Fiction Finalist: Bruce Henricksen, Ticket to a Lonely Town
|Heavier Than Air|
|Creative Nonfiction||Suzannah Lessard||
Judge: Suzannah Lessard
David Carkeet was born and raised in Sonora, California. He has written five novels, Double Negative, The Greatest Slump of All Time, I Been There Before, The Full Catastrophe, and The Error of Our Ways. His essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Poets & Writers, and elsewhere. Among his distinctions are an O. Henry Award and three “Notable Books of the Year” citations from the New York Times Book Review. For many years he taught linguistics and writing at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and edited the University’s literary journal, Natural Bridge. He now lives near Montpelier, Vermont.
Creative Nonfiction Finalist: Jean Braithwaite, FAT: The Story of My Life with My Body
M. Evelina Galang
M. Evelina Galang
Judge: Elizabeth McCracken
M. Evelina Galang is the author of Her Wild American Self, a collection of short fiction from Coffee House Press (1996). Her collection’s title story has been short-listed by both Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize. Galang is also the editor of Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, 2003). Recently, Galang's anthology won ForeWord Magazine's Gold Book of the Year Award for 2003. In 2001, she was the Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in the Philippines where she continued her work on Surviving Comfort Women of World War II for her collection of essays, Lolas' House: Women Living with War. Galang teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Miami.
Novel Finalists: Paul Shepherd, More Like Not Running Away; John Parras, Fire on Mount Maggiore
Judge: Alicia Ostriker
Chris Bursk, recipient of the NEA, Guggenheim, and Pew Fellowships, is the author or seven books, most recently Cell Count with Texas Tech University Press and Ovid at Fifteen from New Issues Press. He is also the 2004 winner of the 49 th Paralell Poetry Award sponsored by the Bellingham Review. In addition to serving as a volunteer for three decades in the correction system, he teaches at Bucks County Community College. His work has appeared in magazines such as Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Manhattan Review, and the Sun. His poem “Ovid at Fifteen,” won the Another Chicago Magazine Award, and his chapbook, Working the Stacks was published by Bachae Press. Bursk holds an MFA from the Warren Wilson MFA Program, and a doctorate from Boston University. He has also been a student in the Vermont College MFA Program and held residencies at MacDowell, Yaddoo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Poetry Finalists: Janice Harrington, The Cloven Heart; Nancy Kuhl, The Wife of the Left Hand; Sabrina Orah Marak, The Babies
|The Improbable Swervings of Atoms|
|Short Fiction||Douglas Bauer||No winner|
|Creative Nonfiction||Beverly Lowry||
Karen Salyer McElmurray
Karen Salyer McElmurray
Judge: Beverly Lowry
Karen Salyer McElmurray is originally from Johnson County in Eastern Kentucky. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Georgia College and State University. She is also the author of a novel, Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven, which received the 2001 Chaffin Award.
Creative Nonfiction Finalists: Steven Church, Danger Boys; Gaynell Gavin, What I Did Not Say
|Mother of the Disappeared: An Appalachian Birth Mother's Journey|
Judge: Stephen Dunn
Barbara Hamby has published two books of poems: Delirium (University of North Texas, 1995) which won the Vassar Miller Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, and the Kate Tufts Award; and The Alphabet of Desire (NYU, 1999) which won the 1998 New York University Poetry Prize and was chosen as one of the 25 best books of 1999 by the New York City Public Library. Her poems have been published in many literary journals and she teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University at Tallahassee.
Poetry Finalist: Mary Quade, Guide to Native Beasts
|Short Fiction||Joan Silber||
Judge: Joan Silber
Doreen Baingana is from Uganda and has lived in the US for 12 years. She has an MFA from the University of Maryland. Her work has appeared in journals such as Chelsea, Glimmer Train, the Sun, Crab Orchard Review, Meridian, and the Potomac Review, and her poetry is included in the anthology, Beyond the Frontier. She received an Artist’s Grant from the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities in 2002. She works for Voice of America radio.
Short Fiction Finalist: Susan Muaddi Darraj, The Inheritance of Exile: Stories from South Philly
|Creative Nonfiction||Sue William Silverman||
"Mark Anderson has magically brought together two only apparently opposing worlds—a passion for pop music and his boyhood as an evangelical preacher's son—in this winning memoir. What a beauty it is, by turns searching and hilarious. This is not just another coming-of-age story. Anderson 's eloquent and fresh reflection on the wild ride American culture—and the American family—has taken in the past quarter century introduces a welcome new voice."
Judge: Sue William Silverman
Mark Anderson's writing has appeared in Spout, Nightbeat, Buzz, and the Minnesota Daily. He has clerked at The Electric Fetus Record Store, and drummed in Twin Cities bands including Oren Goby, Bad Trip, the Idlewilds, and the House of Mercy Band. He earned his MFA at the University of Minnesota, and he currently teaches writing at the University of Minnesota's General College. He lives in St. Paul.
Creative Nonfiction Finalist: Maureen P. Stanton, Common Hours: Essays and Memoirs
|Jesus Sound Explosion|
"These poems hold a surprising stealth. . . . 'It's just life,' I kept telling myself as I read, but how I admire poets who can take the ordinary and then prove to us, through arresting lyric, that it's anything but."
University of Pittsburgh Press
Sandra Kohler did her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College and earned a PhD from Bryn Mawr College in 1971. She has taught literature and writing courses at levels ranging from elementary school to university and adult education. Her poems have appeared in many literary reviews including the New Republic, the Southern Review, West Branch, the Massachusetts Review, Calyx, 5 AM, the Hawaii Pacific Review, Sojourner, American Writing, the Ledge, Countermeasures, Prairie Schooner, the Tulane Review, the Gettysburg Review, and the American Poetry Review. She was a recipient of the Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry, awarded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, twice, in 1985 and 1990. Her first book of poems, The Country of Women, was published in 1995 by Calyx Books. She lives in rural Central Pennsylvania with her husband.
Poetry Finalists: Gerald Majer, Jazzed; Jo Anne McFarland, Watermarks
|The Ceremonies of Longing|
|Short Fiction||Frederick Busch||
"This collection demonstrates an enormous linguistic gift, and a passion for the possibilities of language. The rhythms of each sentence are masterfully assured, right for the sound of the sentences around it, and faithful to the emotions and thoughts of the story. Sometimes the characters are presented realistically, sometimes as aspects of American prose, often as expressions of historical events and even linguistic behavior; but the people on these pages are never mere reflections of the writer’s cleverness or (remarkable) knowledge. Every story is different, every story is a voice. While the voices range in tone from stormy to reconciled, most are tinged with genuine humor. And literature is a fact of life in the world of these fictions: Charles Dickens speaks through one character while Branwell Bronte addresses us through another. Aspects of French surrealism, the passion of Spanish locutions, the Midwestern solidities abandoned by Dorothy of Oz, the Wolf Boy’s insights, and an Adam and Eve to rival Twain’s are among the values that speak in this book of voices. But language loved and laid siege to remains the primary speaker throughout. The writer of this book is vastly talented and hungry to tell us stories. History Lessons is a sizzling debut."
University of Massahchrsetts Press
Joan Connor is an Associate Professor at Ohio University, and a member of the faculty at the University of Southern Maine's low-residency MFA program. She has published two collections of short stories, Here on Old Route 7 and We Who Live Apart, with the University of Missouri Press. A recipient of an Ohio State Arts Council fellowship, she has published in journals such as the Southern Review, the Kenyon Review, the Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, Manoa, and the North American Review. She lives in Athens, Ohio, and Belmont, Vermont, with her son Kerry.
Short Fiction Finalist: Mary Tabor, The Woman Who Never Cooked
|Creative Nonfiction||Barry Sanders||
Judge: Barry Sanders
Jill Christman earned her MFA at the University of Alabama, and now works as the Coordinator of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Minnesota. The first chapter of Dark room appeared in the Summer 2001 issue of River City.
|Darkroom: An Autobiography|
Judge: Marilyn Chin
Gray Jacobiks book, The Double Task (Univ. of Massachusetts Press, 1998), received The Juniper Prize and was nominated for The James Laughlin Award and The Poets Prize. Her most recent book, The Surface of Last Scattering (Texas Review Press, 1999), received the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize. She earned her PhD from Brandeis University. She is professor of literature at Eastern Connecticut State in Willimantic, and currently lives in Pomfret, Connecticut.
|Short Fiction||Frederick Barthelme||
Judge: Frederick Barthelme
Christie Hodgen was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and attended the University of Virginia and Indiana University. She lives with her husband in Columbia, Missouri, where she is pursuing a PhD at the University of Missouri. Her work has appeared in New Stories from the South 2001 and Scribners Best of the Fiction Workshops 1999. Her awards include the Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction, the Ernest Hemingway Days Festival Short Story Prize, and the Quarterly West Novella Prize, among others.
|A Jeweler’s Eye for Flaw|
|Creative Nonfiction||Sven Birkerts||City: An Essay|
Alexander Parsons was born in London, England, and has lived most of his life in New Mexico. He teaches and writes at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. He holds degrees from Wesleyan University, New Mexico State University, and the Iowa Writers Workshop.
Joanie V. Mackowski
Joanie V. Mackowski
Judge: Li-Young Lee
Joanie V. Mackowski attended Wesleyan University, the University of Washington, and most recently was a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her work has appeared in Poetry and The Paris Review.
|Short Fiction||Jill McCorkle||
Judge: Jill McCorkle
Michelle Richmonds fiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, The Florida Review, Fish Stories, and various anthologies. She has received fellowships from the Michener Foundation and the Millay Colony for the Arts. She lives in San Francisco, California.
|The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress|
|Creative Nonfiction||Judith Kitchen||
Creative Nonfiction Finalists: Delta B. Horne, Crackpots; John D’Agata, This Flat Earth
Aaron Roy Even
Novel Finalist: Hubert H. Whitlow, Jr., Blue Awesome Ascending
|Poetry||Dorianne Laux||Connie Voisine
Poetry Finalists: Maurya Simon, Ghost Orchid; Carol Potter, Short History of Pets
|Cathedral of the North|
|Short Fiction||Larry Woiwode||
Short Fiction Finalists: Tom Noyes, Vehicles; John McNally, Troublemakers: Stories; Rebecca J-M Pierre, Never the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride
|The Clouds in Memphis|
|Creative Nonfiction||Kathleen Norris||
Creative Nonfiction Finalist: Rebecca McClanahan, The Riddle Song & Other Mysteries
|The Flatness & Other Landscapes|
|Novel||St. Martin's Press||No winner|
Edward Kleinschmidt Mayes
Poetry Finalists: Richard Siken, Crush; Shelby Stephenson, Long Journey Home; Nick Flynn, Some Ether
|Works & Days|
|Short Fiction||Diane Glancy||Bonnie Jo Campbell
Short Fiction Finalist: Elizabeth Oness, Listeners at the Still Point
|Women & Other Animals|
|Creative Nonfiction||James Galvin||Peter Chilson||Riding the Demon Road|
|Novel||St. Martin's Press||No winner|
|Poetry||Arthur Vogelsang||Josie Rawson||Quarry|
|Short Fiction||Robert Boswell||Toni Graham||The Daiquiri Girls|
|Creative Nonfiction||Lucy Grealy||Marilyn Moriarty||Moses Unchained|
Poetry Finalists: Don Hymans, The Desert Ambulance; Douglas Powell, Tea; Carol Snow, For
|It Is Hard to Look At What We Came to Think|
|Short Fiction||George Cuomo||
Short Fiction Finalists: Heather Seller,• Never Told Me; Mark Wisniewski, Montenegro’s Father
|A Private State|
|Creative Nonfiction||Adam Hochschild||Sue William Silverman||Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You|
Novel Finalist: David Zimmerman, Hotwire
|No New Jokes|
Poetry Finalist: Sarah Randolph, Gold Morning
|The Ocean Inside Kenji Takezo|
|Short Fiction||Lorrie Moore||
Short Fiction Finalist: Wendell Mayo, El Centauro del Norte
|Creative Nonfiction||Patricia Hampl||William Van Wert||Memory Links|
|Novel||Elizabeth Cox||Tracy Daugherty||What Falls Away|
|Poetry||William Matthews||Ruth Schwartz||Accordion Breathing and Dancing|
|Short Fiction||Elizabeth Tallent||A. Manette Ansay||Read This and Tell Me What It Says|
|Creative Nonfiction||Phillip Lopate||Michael Stephens||Green Dreams: Under the Influence of the Irish|
|Novel||Josephine Humphreys||Mary Gardner||Boat People|
|Poetry||Carolyn Forché||Reginald Shepherd||Some Are Drowning|
|Short Fiction||Grace Paley||E. Bumas||Significance|
|Creative Nonfiction||Stanley Lindberg||Fred Setterberg||Unpaved Nations: Travels Through America's Literary Landscapes|
|Novel||Alison Lurie||William Cobb||The Fire Eaters|
|Poetry||Lucille Clifton||Suzanne Gardinier||The New World|
|Short Fiction||Bret Lott||Daniel Lyons||The First Snow|
|Creative Nonfiction||Scott Russell Sanders||Phyllis Barber||How I Got Cultured|
|Novel||Richard Bausch||No winner|
|Poetry||Ron Wallace||Betsy Sholl||The Red Line|
|Short Fiction||Antonya Nelson||Jack Driscoll||Wanting Only to be Heard|
|Creative Nonfiction||Bob Atwan||Philip Garrison||Augury|
|Novel||Bob Shacochis||Lamar Herrin||The Lies Boys Tell|
|Poetry||Ellen Bryant Voigt||Kathleen Peirce||A Living Room|
|Short Fiction||Ron Hansen||Karen Brennan||Wild Desire|
|Poetry||Alice Fulton||Belle Waring||Refuge|
|Short Fiction||Charles Baxter||Susan Hubbard||Walking on Ice|
|Creative Nonfiction||Gloria Emerson||Richard Terrill||Saturday Night in Baoding|
|Novel||Toby Olson||Duff Brenna||Mamie Beaver|
|Poetry||Gerald Stern||Christopher Davis||The Tyrant of the Past|
|Short Fiction||David Huddle||Roland Sodowsky||Things We Lose|
|Creative Nonfiction||David McKain||Diane Ackerman||Spellbound: Growing Up in God's Country|
|Novel||John Williams||No winner|
|Poetry||Linda Pastan||Robin Behn||Paper Bird|
|Short Fiction||Francois Camoin||Anne Finger||Basic Skills|
|Creative Nonfiction||Irene Skolnick & Robley Wilson, Jr.||No winner|
|Novel||George Cuomo||Kenn Robbins||Buttermilk Bottoms|
|Poetry||James Whitehead & Dara Wier||Judith Hemschemeyer||The Ride Home|
|Short Fiction||Robley Wilson, Jr. & Irene Skolnick||Jesse Lee Kercheval||The Dogeater: Stories|
|Creative Nonfiction||Susan Fromberg Schaeffer||Scott R. Sanders||The Paradise of Bombs|
|Novel||Margaret Atwood||Mack Faith||The Warrior's Gift|
|Poetry||John Frederick Nims||No winner|
|Short Fiction||Ann Beattie||No winner|
|Creative Nonfiction||Annie Dillard||Will Baker||Mountain Blood|
|Novel||George Garrett||William Holinger||The Fence-Walker|
|Poetry||James Tate||Sandra Alcosser||A Fish to Feed All Hunger|
|Short Fiction||Paul Bowles||Rod Kessier||Off in Zimbabwe|
|Novel||Theodore Solotaroff||Doug Finn||Heart of a Family|
|Poetry||Josephine Jacobsen||Lisa Ress||Flight Patterns|
|Short Fiction||Donald Barthelme||Charles Baxter||Harmony of the World|
|Novel||Gail Godwin||John Solensten||Good Thunder|
|Poetry||W.D. Snodgrass||Alice Fulton||Dance Script With Electric Ballerina|
|Short Fiction||Raymond Carver||Alvin Greenberg||Delta q|
|Novel||John Irving||No winner|
|Poetry||William Meredith||Paul Nelson||Days Off|
|Short Fiction||Stanley Elkin||Francois Camoin||The End of the World is Los Angeles|
|Novel||Hortense Calesher||Mary Elsie Robertson||After Freud|
|Poetry||Maxine Kumin||William Carpenter||The Hours of Morning|
|Short Fiction||Joyce Carol Oates||Eugene Garber||Metaphysical Tales|
|Poetry||Donald Justice||James Applewhite||Following Gravity|
|Short Fiction||Richard Yates||Ian MacMillan||Light and Power|
|Poetry||Robert Penn Warren||Jeanne Larsen||James Cook in Search of Terra Incognita|
|Short Fiction||Wallace Stegner||Rebecca Kavaler||The Further Adventure of Brunhild|
|Poetry||Elizabeth Bishop||Phyllis Janowitz||Rites of Strangers|
|Poetry||James Wright||Robert Huff||The Ventriloquist|
|Poetry||Richard Eberhart||David Walker||Moving Out|