Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi Wins the PEN/Faulkner Award
May 3, 2019
On Monday, April 29, author Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi was announced as the winner of the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her novel Call Me Zebra (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Selected from a pool of over 400 novels, Call Me Zebra was cited for having a voice that is “singular, adventurous, and intellectually humorous,” by judges Percival Everett, Ernesto Quiñonez, and Joy Williams. “Call Me Zebra is a library within a library.”
“Winning the PEN/Faulkner Award at such a delicate and trying juncture in our nation’s troubled history is an honor I am infinitely grateful to carry. It is, for me, a reminder from our mysterious universe that honest writing can allow us to speak humbly with one another, an intimation to love and to listen deeply each time I set pen to paper,” said Van der Vleit Oloomi.
In addition to Call Me Zebra, which was also longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is the author of the novel Fra Keeler, which earned a Whiting Award and a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” selection. Van der Vliet Oloomi is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and a fellowship from the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes in Barcelona. She teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame. She joins a long and venerated list of past PEN/Faulkner winners, including Ha Jin, Ann Patchett, Deborah Eisenberg, E. L. Doctorow, and others.
Image Credit: Kayla Holdread