Winners of the 2015 AWP Award Series
The AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction
This year's judge, Lia Purpura, has decided not to select a winner. Please read this letter from our Executive Director.
The AWP Award Series for the Novel
Winner: Carol Zoref
Barren Island, New Issues Press
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
The Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
Winner: Marci Calabretta
Hour of the Ox, University of Pittsburgh Press
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.
The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
Winner: Eric Neuenfeldt
Wild Horse, University of Massachusetts Press
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