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Literary Awards: Help or Hindrance?

Literary awards and prizes excite regular interest; writers, editors, publishers, and readers all pay attention to them. What roles do awards and prizes play in our literary culture? Who judges them, and for what constituencies? How are individual writers and groups of writers helped or hindered by them? What role can and should money play? Several writers who have judged or received literary awards and prizes will discuss the pros, cons, implications, and complications.


Tiphanie Yanique
Tiphanie Yanique is the author of the novel Land of Love and Drowning, winner of the First Novel Award from the Center for Fiction, and the Rosenthal Family Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. She also won the Felix Dennis Award/Forward Prize for her book of poems, “Wife.”

Jess Row
Jess Row is the author of the novel Your Face in Mine, and the story collections The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost. He has received Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, and a Whiting Award, and was named a “Best Young American Novelist” by Granta. He teaches at the College of New Jersey.

Mia Alvar
Mia Alvar is the author of In the Country, a collection of short stories, which won the 2016 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2015 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. Her fiction has appeared in One Story, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere.

Leslie Shipman
Leslie Shipman, moderator, is the former assistant director of the National Book Foundation, and currently consults for literary programs at PEN America. She’s a poet whose work can be found in BOMB, the Kenyon Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere.


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