Winners of the 2012 AWP Award Series
The AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction
Winner: Julian Hoffman
The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World, University of Georgia Press
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 AWP Award Series for the Novel
Winner: Andrew Ladd
What Ends, New Issues Press
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
The Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
Winner: Joan Naviyuk Kane
Hyperboreal, University of Pittsburgh Press
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
The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
Winner: Lucas Southworth
Everyone Here Has a Gun, University of Massachusetts Press
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