Winners of the 2007 AWP Award Series
The AWP Award Series in Creative Nonfiction
Winner: Sharon White
Vanished Gardens, University of Georgia Press
Michael Martone, Judge: "Vanished Gardens, like the gardens of Philadelphia it plots so brilliantly in its pages, presents itself as both highly formal and completely natural in its composition and its fruition. It is a book that saturates space, horizontal and vertical, as well as exhausts time. As with all excellent gardens everywhere, everywhere one looks one is delighted, surprised, awed, and restored. And as with all excellent writing about landscape, Vanished Gardens transforms the world before our eyes so that the reader, held in its thrall, begins to see to see."
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.
Finalist: Patrick Madden, Quotidiana
The AWP Award Series in the Novel
Winner: Scott Blackwood
We Agreed to Meet Just Here, New Issues Press
Robert Eversz, Judge:"We Agreed to Meet Just Here is a lyrical mystery about disappearance, told in precise and luminous prose. A young lifeguard in an unnamed Austin suburb vanishes one night while returning from a screening of The Third Man. A doctor, ill with cancer, goes missing from his home, and is later seen, bearded and ragged, wandering the aisles of a grocery store. A car is stolen, the unseen consequences tragic. One child is given up to adoption, another is lost up a tree. The absences are so keenly felt, in the drifting lucidity of the author’s sentences, that every reappearance reads like a small miracle."
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.
Finalist: Peter Selgin, Life Goes to the Movies
Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
Winner: Sharon Dolin
Burn and Dodge, University of Pittsburgh Press
Bob Hicok, Judge: "Burn and Dodge is an apt title for this book. Dolin’s poems adroitly move in and out of shadow, shed light, contrast or blend as the context demands. The need to measure is strong in these poems, to examine how we live within the constraints of our emotions and how they get the better of us. Her language is lithe and motored, her meanings channeled by her formal devotions, without ever being reduced to mere accoutrements of form. She writes at the edge of compression with such pop to her lines that I’m reminded of Auden’s definition of — memorable speech."
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.
Finalist: Jack Martin, Marimba This, Marimba That
The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
Winner: David Vann
Legend of a Suicide, University of Massachusetts Press
Noy Holland, Judge: "Legend of a Suicide is a powerful collection of related stories that unfold in, or refer back to, the desolate wilds of Alaska. The desolation of the place is key. The characters in these stories are extreme in their isolation from one another, whether they come together in a howling wind or in the comforts of a warm kitchen. Here is suicide, infidelity, madness; here are people whose skewed optimism about the next love affair, the next career, the next homestead, proves deadly. Their despair is familiar and bewildering and grievous. They are doing the best they can, and it is not enough to answer even the demands of the day. Memory, affection for place, the mangled ways we manage to express the love we feel—this writer is unafraid of the weight and the complication of these things. He is emboldened in these stories, or she is, to fall headlong into the disorienting wilderness of the human heart and mind."
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
Finalist: Dylan Landis, Normal People Don't Live Like This