Annual Bard Fiction Prize Is Awarded to Violet KupersmithANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Author Violet Kupersmith has received the Bard Fiction Prize for her first novel, Build Your House Around My Body (Random House 2021). Kupersmith’s residency at Bard College is for the fall 2023 semester, during which time she will continue her writing and meet informally with students. Kupersmith will give a public reading at Bard during her residency.
“Violet Kupersmith’s Build Your House Around My Body never ceases to surprise, as it intertwines disparate time periods, locations, and cultures, not to mention realities, and its sentences are worlds in themselves,” writes the Bard Fiction Prize committee. “She approaches her subject matter in fresh ways, and the novel’s otherworldly elements are expertly interwoven with the mundane, through an imagination truly rich and strange. This novel is sensual, it is visceral, it is outrageously comic. By turns, Kupersmith makes you squeamish with distaste, shivery with terror, giddy with laughter, awestruck by beauty, and warmed by unexpected tenderness. She always makes you marvel at her inventiveness, enticing you to solve the novel’s central mysteries, as she elicits the widest range of sensations possible. She is a writer of astonishing perspicacity and fluidity of language, and succumbing to her magic is a risk no reader should hesitate to take.”
“What a staggering honor to be in the company of all the literary luminaries who were previous winners of the award or have called Bard home at some point in their careers,” said Kupersmith. “I am just grateful beyond words to the prize committee for this recognition and for such an extraordinary gift. And I cannot wait to plant myself in this fertile intellectual environment next fall and grow something strange and new.”
Violet Kupersmith was born in central Pennsylvania in 1989 and later moved with her family to the Philadelphia suburbs. Her father is a white American and her mother is from Da Nang, Vietnam. Her mother’s family fled the country by boat following the fall of Saigon in 1975, and were resettled in Port Arthur, Texas. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College in 2011, Violet spent a year teaching English in Tra Vinh, Vietnam, on a Fulbright Fellowship. Between 2013 and 2015, she lived in Da Lat and Saigon, Vietnam. She was the 2015–2016 David T. K. Wong Fellow at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and is the recipient of a 2022 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her short story collection The Frangipani Hotel was published by Spiegel & Grau in 2014. violetkupersmith.com
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 Lindsey Drager for her novel, The Archive of Alternate Endings (Dzanc Books 2019).
ABOUT THE BARD FICTION PRIZE
The Bard Fiction Prize is awarded to a promising emerging writer who is an American citizen aged 39 years or younger at the time of application. In addition to a $30,000 cash award, the winner receives an appointment as writer in residence at Bard College for one semester, without the expectation that he or she teach traditional courses. The recipient gives at least one public lecture and meets informally with students. To apply, candidates should write a cover letter explaining the project they plan to work on while at Bard and submit a CV, along with three copies of the published book they feel best represents their work. No manuscripts will be accepted. Applications for the 2024 prize must be received by June 1, 2023. For information about the Bard Fiction Prize, call 845-758-7087, send an e-mail to [email protected], or visit bard.edu/bfp. Applicants may also request information by writing to: Bard Fiction Prize, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000.
#About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year, residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in more than 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 13 programs; eight early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 162-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education. The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu.
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