Annual Bard Fiction Prize Is Awarded to Lindsey Drager
“Lindsey Drager’s wonderfully innovative novel, The Archive of Alternate Endings, takes its readers on an elliptical, speculative, philosophically intrepid journey that tracks the evolution of the old folktale, Hansel and Gretel, between 1378 and 2365, even as it redefines and revises our sense of what narrative itself can achieve,” writes the Bard Fiction Prize committee. “As Halley’s Comet revisits the Earth every seventy-five years, like some cosmic metronome, we encounter the siblings Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Johannes Gutenberg and his sister, and twin space probes searching the galaxy for a sister planet to our own. As we do, we witness the many ways in which Hansel and Gretel themselves are transformed along with the human experience their tale portrays. Intimate in its understanding of the multiplicities of love, here is an elegantly succinct work of art that is flat-out epic in scope. And while one may look to Borges, Calvino, Winterson, even the Terrence Malik of Tree of Life for comparison, Drager’s vision is breathtakingly original and The Archive of Alternate Endings displays the confident technique and wild inventiveness of an already accomplished literary artist emerging into virtuosity.”
“I am so very, very grateful for the opportunity to spend a semester engaging with the literary community at Bard. It is a privilege to be listed among the extraordinary novelists and short story writers honored with this prize in the past,” said Drager. “For me, much of writing is about ongoing, long-term self-doubt, so support and recognition like this is simply invaluable. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Bard Fiction Prize committee for seeing something in this strange book.”
Lindsey Drager is the author of three novels: The Sorrow Proper (Dzanc 2015), The Lost Daughter Collective (Dzanc 2017), and The Archive of Alternate Endings (Dzanc 2019). Her books have won a John Gardner Fiction Award and a Shirley Jackson Award; been listed as a “Best Book of the Year” in The Guardian and NPR; and twice been named a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. A Spanish language edition of her second book was published this year in Spain, and an Italian edition of The Archive of Alternate Endings is forthcoming. A 2020 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient in Prose, she is currently the associate fiction editor of the literary journal West Branch and an assistant professor in the creative writing program at the University of Utah.
The creation of the Bard Fiction Prize, presented each October since 2001, continues Bard’s long-standing position as a center for creative, groundbreaking literary work by both faculty and students. From Saul Bellow, William Gaddis, Mary McCarthy, and Ralph Ellison to John Ashbery, Philip Roth, William Weaver, and Chinua Achebe, Bard’s literature faculty, past and present, represents some of the most important writers of our time. The prize is intended to encourage and support young writers of fiction, and provide them with an opportunity to work in a fertile intellectual environment. Last year’s Bard Fiction Prize was awarded to Akil Kumarasamy for her debut story collection, Half Gods (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2018).
Post Date: 10-21-2021