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Bard Fiction Prize Winner Karen Russell To Give Reading in Red Hook on May 1
Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
Set in Florida against the backdrop of hauntingly fecund plant life animated by ancient lizards and lawless hungers, Swamplandia! tells the story of 13-year-old Ava Bigtree and her family’s wild struggle to save their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, as their once-glorious alligator-wrestling dynasty is swiftly being encroached upon by a fearsome and sophisticated competitor called the World of Darkness. An arrestingly beautiful and inventive work, Swamplandia! has been praised by Stephen King as “brilliant, funny, original . . . also creepy and sinister . . . every bit as good as her short stories promised it would be. This book will not leave my mind.” Kate Christensen for Elle calls it “the Great Floridian Novel” and writes, “It’s a tour de force . . . Near-hallucinatory in its intensity—not only in its dark, sad, enthralling plot, but in its descriptions of the swamp: gorgeous, precise, lush poetry. The book becomes sharply suspenseful as Russell’s fearless eye and voice go deep into the swamps of adolescence, of what it is to lose a mother, and of Florida itself.”
Karen Russell received the annual Bard Fiction Prize for 2011 for her book of short stories, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (Random House, 2006). Russell, a native of Miami, has been featured in both The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 fiction issue and New York magazine’s list of 25 people to watch under the age of 26. She is a graduate of the Columbia MFA program and is the 2005 recipient of the Transatlantic Review/Henfield Foundation Award. Her fiction has recently appeared in Granta, Zoetrope, Oxford American, Conjunctions, and The New Yorker, which first published her story “Haunting Olivia” in its 2005 debut fiction issue. She is currently writer-in-residence at Bard College.
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This event was last updated on 04-11-2011