Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sherman ALEXIE wins the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

SEATTLE NOVELIST SHERMAN ALEXIE was named the winner of the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction on March 23, 2010, for his latest collection of stories and essays, interspersed with poems, War Dances (Grove/Atlantic, 2009). Alexie’s book, along with books by the other finalists, Barbara Kingsolver for The Lacuna (Harper, 2010), Lorraine M. López for Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories (BkMk Press, 2009), Lorrie Moore for A Gate at the Stairs (Knopf, 2009) and Colson Whitehead for Sag Harbor (Doubleday, 2009), was selected from about 350 novels and short-story collections published by American authors in 2009.

Alexie, who previously won the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for his autobiographical novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, won for “a collection of structurally inventive pieces on the themes of love, betrayal, familial relationships, race and class.” Judge Al Young says, “War Dances taps every vein and nerve, every tissue, every issue that quickens the current blood-pulse: parenthood, divorce, broken links, sex, gender and racial conflict, substance abuse, medical neglect, 9/11, Official Narrative vs. What Really Happened, settler religion vs. native spirituality; marketing, shopping, and war, war, war. All the heartbreaking ways we don’t live now—this is the caring, eye-opening beauty of this rollicking, bittersweet gem of a book.”

Alexis recently picked up the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the author of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, his first collection of stories which won a PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Book in 1993. (One of the stories from the collection was adapted as a 1998 independent film, Smoke Signals.)

The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is an annual award given by the Washington, D.C.-based PEN/Faulkner Foundation.


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