2016 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize

Winner

Mia Alvar for In the Country: Stories (Alfred A. Knopf)
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The PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize honors an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut work—a novel or collection of short stories—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise. The winner receives a cash award of $25,000, a stipend intended to permit a significant degree of leisure in which to pursue a second work of literary fiction. The winner is also encouraged to become an active participant in the PEN community and its programs.

From the Judges' Citation

Mia Alvar’s remarkable collection explores the great swath of the Filipino diaspora in nine stories of astonishing humanity. It is rare to find a debut of such depth and breadth, work singing with the grace of a thousand doomed lifetimes compressed into stories both luminous and empathic, populated by memorable characters facing such keenly felt challenges. Technically accomplished, tremendously moving, often funny: each story bursts with brilliance, speaking from the weight of history to the buoyancy of the human soul. In the Country marks both a significant contribution to literature as well as great accomplishment in the early work of an important writer.”

Shortlist

In the Country: Stories
Mia Alvar
Alfred A. Knopf
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The Turner House
Angela Flournoy
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Mr. and Mrs. Doctor
Julie Iromuanya
Coffee House Press
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The Sympathizer: A Novel
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Grove Press
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Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness
Jennifer Tseng
Europa Editions
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Longlist

In the Country: Stories
Mia Alvar
Alfred A. Knopf
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Boatmaker
John Benditt
Tin House Books
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Did You Ever Have A Family
Bill Clegg
Gallery/Scout Press/Simon & Schuster
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Hausfrau: A Novel
Jill Alexander Essbaum
Random House
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Turner House
Angela Flournoy
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Mr. and Mrs. Doctor
Julie Iromuanya
Coffee House Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Sympathizer: A Novel
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Grove Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

The Given World: A Novel
Marian Palaia
Simon & Schuster
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

It Had Been Planned and There Were Guides
Jessica Lee Richardson
Fiction Collective Two/University of Alabama Press
Amazon | Indie Bound
 

Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness
Jennifer Tseng
Europa Editions
Amazon | Indie Bound

 

2016 Judges

Helon Habila is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at George Mason University, USA. His novels include, Waiting for an Angel (2002), Measuring Time (2007), and Oil on Water (2010). He is the editor of the Granta Book of African Short Story (2011). Habila’s novels, poems, and short stories have won many honors and awards, including the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel (Africa Section), the Caine Prize, and most recently the Windham-Campbell Prize. Habila has been a contributing editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review since 2004, and he is a regular reviewer for the Guardian, UK. He lives in Virginia with his wife and three children.

Elizabeth McCracken is the author of five books: Here’s Your Hat What’s Your Hurry (stories), the novels The Giant’s House and Niagara Falls All Over Again, the memoir An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, and Thunderstruck & Other Stories. She’s received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Liguria Study Center, the American Academy in Berlin, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
 

Edie Meidav is the author of three award-winning novels, most recently Lola, California (FSG), as well as the story and nonfiction collection Kingdom of the Young (Sarabande, 2017). She teaches in the UMass Amherst MFA program. Follow her at @lolacaliornia or find more information at www.ediemeidav.com.
 

 

Jess Row is the author of the story collections The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost and the novel Your Face in Mine. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Tin House, Conjunctions, and Granta, have been anthologized three times in The Best American Short Stories, and have won two Pushcart Prizes and a PEN/O. Henry Award. In 2007, he was named a “Best Young American Novelist” by Granta. His nonfiction and criticism appear often in The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Threepenny Review, and Boston Review.

Past Winners

Carolyn Cooke, Matthew Klam, Manil Suri, Jonathan Safran Foer, Will Heinrich, Monique Truong, Christopher Coake, Janna Levin, Dalia Sofer, Donald Ray Pollock, Paul Harding, Danielle Evans, Susanna Daniel, Vanessa Veselka, Sergio De La Pava, and Shawn Vestal.

Click here for additional information, including submission guidelines, for the award. 

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