Winners of the 2018 AWP Award Series
The AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction
Winner: Steven Moore
Notes for the Relief, The University of Georgia Press
Dinty W. Moore, Judge: "Notes for the Relief is both a tale of our longest war and an astute coming of age memoir, the story of an English major who finds himself filling sandbags as an Iowa National Guardsman one day and deployed on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border the next. The prose is marked throughout by his compelling voice and precise description, and like Heller, Herr, and O’Brien before him, he understands that war can often be most hellish in its tedium. Notes for the Relief is an honest, absorbing, sharply-observed narrative that questions both the nature of war and the nature of the stories we tell ourselves."
Steven Moore grew up in southeast Iowa and served for seven years in the Iowa Army National Guard. His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon Review Online, Georgia Review, Ninth Letter, Pinball, BOAAT, Entropy, and the anthology Why We Write: Craft Essays on Writing War. He received his MFA in nonfiction writing from Oregon State University and currently works at a nonprofit in Corvallis, Oregon.
Finalist: Larry Palmer, Scholarship Boy: A Memoir
The AWP Award Series for the Novel
Winner: Ginger Eager
The Nature of Remains, New Issues Press
Paula McLain, Judge: "With the wrenching simplicity of Kent Haruf and the dark southern lyricism of Daniel Woodrell, the author of The Nature of Remains has generated a story that’s tragic and restrained, piercing, compassionate, and incredibly wise in the ways of human nature. Like the amethysts that make up the book’s thematic core, the characters are shaped by powerful forces from within and without. They fracture and yield. They cleave blindly to the very patterns that will destroy them."
Ginger Eager's essays, short stories, and book reviews have appeared in Terrain.org, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Bellevue Literary Review, The Chattahoochee Review, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. She has received a nomination for a Pushcart Prize and a notable mention in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015. A native Georgian, she currently lives in Atlanta.
Finalist: Ron Nyren, The Book of Lost Light
The Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
Winner: Rebecca Lehmann
Ringer, University of Pittsburgh Press
Ross A. Gay, Judge: “Rebecca Lehmann’s Ringer is a beautiful book. There’s something propulsive and yearning and broken with sadness in these poems. And ecstatic. And astonished. And loving. And there is something that might put its foot up your ass. All made of a gorgeous racket that will probably make you gasp. By which I mean: be in the world anew. As poetry, if we’re lucky, sometimes helps us to be.”
Rebecca Lehmann’s poetry and creative nonfiction has been published or is forthcoming in Tin House, FENCE, Boston Review, The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, Copper Nickel, and other venues. Originally from Wisconsin, she now resides in South Bend, Indiana, where she is an Assistant Professor of English at Saint Mary’s College. Her first poetry collection, Between the Crackups, was published by Salt in 2011. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Maytag Fellow, and a PhD from Florida State University.
Finalist: Ashley Danielle Ryle, Philomel, Whose Reputation Precedes Her
The Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
Winner: Zachary Doss
Boy Oh Boy, Red Hen Press
Kelly Link, Judge: "Playful, wistful, lustful, and liminal, Zachary Doss’s Boy oh Boy proves much larger than the sum of its parts. Doss explores the queerness of love, and how that love permeates—even in its absence—all parts of our lives. The boys (and boyfriends) of the collection may be mechanically replaceable, or miniature and multiple, or complicated in a dozen other ways, but they come to full life in Doss’s stories. The shortest of these stories have a kind of effervescent charm that only increases the deeper you get into the collection. It’s boys all the way down."
Zachary Doss was a writer and editor with work appearing in Sonora Review, Fairy Tale Review, DIAGRAM, Paper Darts, and other journals. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama, and was pursuing a Phd in Literature and Creative Writing at University of Southern California.
Finalist: Victoria Lancelotta, Ways to Disappear