Literary award season is upon us, and this week in New York we celebrated the latest accomplishments of three Sarabande authors. Arna Bontemps Hemenway took third place in the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Program for Elegy on Kinderklavier, Kyle Minor brought home the Story Prize Spotlight Award for Praying Drunk, and Let Me Clear My Throat author Elena Passarello landed a $50,000 Whiting Award.
Arna Bontemps Hemenway Wins Third Place in the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Program
Here's what some of this year's judges had to say about Elegy on Kinderklavier:
"In Elegy on Kinderklavier Arna Bontemps Hemenway ranges wide and deep, creating deeply felt and exhaustively inhabited representations of every kind of contemporary violence -- emotional, structural, and physical. But the stories are beautiful, not brutal, because of the great attentive loveliness of the writing itself, and the greatly compassionate respect with which Hemenway holds the lives he describes. This is one of the most ambitious, accomplished, and fearless new books I've read in years."
"In Elegy on Kinderklavier, Arna Bontemps Hemenway shines his imagination on stories that take us from Kansas to Kenya. It is always wonderful to welcome a new voice to the world of short stories."
"Rarely have I read an author who so fearlessly inhabits the disparate characters he creates. Whether he's writing about Israeli interstellar colonists, or rural Iraqi imams, or an American father losing his young family to cancer, Arna Bontemps Hemenway explodes the barriers between author and character, self and other, with radical, transgressive empathy."
"For 25 years, Barnes & Noble has been honoring some of the finest literary talent in the country with the Discover Great New Writers program. A committee of Barnes & Noble booksellers come together to choose about 60 books a year by blossoming authors they don’t think should go unnoticed. Of those books, six are nominated for Discover Awards. Many of the writers selected by the program have gone on to become big household names, like Cheryl Strayed and Chang-rae Lee." Read more about the program and awards here.
Elena Passarello Wins a Whiting Award
2015 marks the 30th anniversary of these prestigious $50,000 awards given each year to ten exceptional emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry. Passarello is one of the ten 2015 recipients, all of whom were honored tonight at a ceremony at the New-York Historical Society in Manhattan, with a keynote by award-winning author Andrew Solomon. Read more about the Whiting Award here.
“Without bringing herself into the telling directly, Elena Passarello hovers above the little moment in history with wise wonder. The subject of her first book of essays, the physical experience of making sound, is fundamental to human experience, yet she is writing in ways that are unique – and fearless. There’s nobody else that sounds like her, or is doing what she’s doing. When she looks at something she finds interesting, she says, ‘Let me see what’s down that road!’ And she runs down that road as fast as she can.”
—Whiting Award Judges
Kyle Minor wins the Story Prize Spotlight Award for PRAYING DRUNK
"It's difficult to read as many excellent short story collections each year as we do and only choose three to honor. There are always other books that don't make that very short list but stay with us long after we've read them. For that reason, three years ago, we created The Story Prize Spotlight award, a $1,000 prize to honor an additional short story collection that we believe deserves further attention." Read more about the Spotlight Award here.