Annual Bard Fiction Prize Is Awarded To Laura Van Den Berg
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Author Laura van den Berg has been selected to receive the annual Bard Fiction Prize for 2015. The prize, established in 2001 by Bard College to encourage and support promising young fiction writers, consists of a $30,000 cash award and appointment as writer in residence for one semester. Van den Berg is receiving the prize for her book The Isle of Youth (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013). In this collection of stories, van den Berg explores the lives of women mired in secrecy and deception. The characters in these stories are at once vulnerable and dangerous, bighearted and ruthless—grappling with the choices they have made and searching for the clues to unlock their inner worlds. Van den Berg’s residency at Bard College will be for the spring 2015 semester, during which time she will continue her writing, meet informally with students, and give a public reading. For more information, please call 845-758-7087.
The Bard Fiction Prize committee writes: “Laura van den Berg’s stories are at once subtle and in extremis, as if the author were able to pressure-cook scenarios in which strangeness becomes uncomfortably familiar, and the seemingly ‘normal’ is unveiled as being, well, not so terribly normal. Her technical skills are beyond abundant and yet so complex as to be nearly erased during the act of reading. This is a writer of the first order, someone who pushes aside any notion of trendiness; a writer who has emerged on the literary scene full-voiced, and ready to knock down some walls. We embrace her project and her future.”
Van den Berg says, “I remain stunned with happiness and gratitude. The support and time the Bard Prize offers is an exceptionally rare gift and I am still wrapping my head around being this year’s lucky recipient. It is a huge honor to join the list of the prize’s past winners and I will be overjoyed to join the Bard community this spring.”
Laura van den Berg is the author of the story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and The Isle of Youth, which won the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was named a “Best Book of 2013” by more than a dozen venues and publications, including NPR, the Boston Globe, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Both collections were shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. The recipient of an O. Henry Award and a Pushcart Prize, van den Berg’s work has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Van den Berg’s first novel, Find Me, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2015. A native of Florida, she lives in the Boston area.
The creation of the Bard Fiction Prize, presented each October, 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 to pursue their creative goals and provide an opportunity to work in a fertile and intellectual environment. Last year’s Bard Fiction Prize was awarded to Bennett Sims for his book, A Questionable Shape (Two Dollar Radio, 2013).
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 the monetary 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 C.V., along with three copies of the published book they feel best represents their work. No manuscripts will be accepted. Applications for the 2016 prize must be received by June 15, 2015. For information about the Bard Fiction Prize, call 845-758-7087, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or visit www.bard.edu/bfp. Applicants may also request information by writing to the Bard Fiction Prize, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000.
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CAPTION INFO: Author Laura van den Berg has been selected to receive the annual Bard Fiction Prize for 2015.
PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Yoon
Bard Press Contact:Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
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