Simpson Family Literary Project
Reading1.jpg

News

News

Announcing the 2018 Simpson Prize Shortlist Finalists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2018 SIMPSON FAMILY LITERARY PRIZE SHORTLIST FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

Five Shortlist Finalists to Contend for Annual $50,000 Fiction Prize
Recognizing Mid-Career Authors

LAFAYETTE, CA, March 8, 2018—The five Shortlist Finalists for the 2nd Annual 2018 Simpson Family Literary Prize recognizing mid-career authors in fiction were officially announced today at a private ceremony. The $50,000 Prize is awarded to an author of fiction in the middle of a burgeoning career. The Prize is administered by the Simpson Project, which is the collaboration of the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation and the University of California, Berkeley, English Department. The five Shortlist Finalists were selected by an anonymous jury from authors confidentially nominated by distinguished critics, authors, professors, booksellers, and book reviewers from around the country.

“Our distinguished Simpson Prize Finalists embody the inspiring richness and vitality of storytelling in our country. The Simpson Literary Project, with our investment in writing across a great social and generational spectrum, speaks to the highest ideals of both the Lafayette Library and Learning Center and the UC Berkeley English Department. Where we celebrate stories and their makers, we affirm the best of our diverse culture and underscore our shared humanity.” —Joseph Di Prisco, Chair, Simpson Family Literary Project

The Shortlist Finalists for the 2018 Simpson Family Literary Prize are:

Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco)

Samantha Hunt, author of The Dark Dark (FSG)

Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs (Penguin)

Anthony Marra, author of The Tsar of Love and Techno (Hogarth)

Martin Pousson, author of Black Sheep Boy (Rare Bird)

[Author biographies continued at end of release]

“The Berkeley English Department is honored to continue our participation in the Simpson Family Literary Project. We look forward to celebrating the 2nd Simpson Prize Recipient, as well as working with younger writers in Bay Area schools and youth programs. We are also delighted that Joyace Carol Oates, who teaches fiction workshops in the Department during the spring, is the Simpson Family Literary Project Writer-in-Residence.” —Genaro Padilla, Chair, English Department, University of California, Berkeley

“We are honored to provide this opportunity for authors, student writers and the public in this celebration of literature and literacy through the Simpson Family Literary Project.” —Beth Needel, Executive Director of the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation, and founding member of the Simpson Family Literary Project Committee

The Prize Recipient is expected to be named in early April 2018. The recipient will give readings in the Bay Area in October 2018, and participate in a two-week residence in Lafayette and Berkeley, California, during the Spring Semester 2019.

The Simpson Family Literary Project, established in 2016, is an innovative private/public partnership between the University of California and the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation and the Contra Costa Library. The Project fosters new literature, supports authors, and enhances the lives of readers, writers, educators, and students in diverse communities in California and the nation. The Project serves high-school age writers and supports a Writer in Residence program at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation.

The eminent and celebrated Joyce Carol Oates will continue as an official Simpson Family Literary Project Writer-in-Residence; and 2017 Simpson Family Literary Prize Winner, T. Geronimo Johnson, author of Welcome to Braggsville (HarperCollins), will continue his efforts and engagements with the Simpson Family Literary Project.

# # #

For more information, please contact Beth Needel at 925.283.6513 ext 104 or email at bneedel@lllcf.org.

# # #

Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco)
Ben Fountain was born in Chapel Hill and grew up in the tobacco country of eastern North Carolina. A former practicing attorney, he is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, and the novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award and a finalist for the National Book Award. Billy Lynn was adapted into a feature film directed by three-time Oscar winner Ang Lee, and his work has been translated into over twenty languages. His series of essays published in The Guardian on the 2016 US presidential election was subsequently nominated by the editors of The Guardian for the Pulitzer Prize in Commentary. He lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife of thirty-two years, Sharon Fountain.

Samantha Hunt, author of The Dark Dark (FSG)
Samantha Hunt is the author of The Dark Dark: Stories, and three novels. Mr. Splitfoot is a ghost story. The Invention of Everything Else is about the life of inventor Nikola Tesla. The Seas, Hunt’s first novel, will be republished by Tin House Books in 2018. Hunt is the recipient of a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Bard Fiction Prize, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Prize and she was a finalist for the Orange Prize. Hunt has been published by The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, and a number of other fine publications. She teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and lives in upstate New York.

Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs (Penguin)
Karan Mahajan is the author of Family Planning, a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, and The Association of Small Bombs, which was shortlisted for the 2016 National Book Awards, won the 2017 NYPL Young Lions Award, and was named one of the New York Times Book Review's "Ten Best Books of 2016." In 2017, he was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists. His essays and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker Online, n+1, and other venues. Originally from New Delhi, he currently resides in upstate New York.

Anthony Marra, author of The Tsar of Love and Techno (Hogarth)
Anthony Marra is the author of The Tsar of Love and Techno, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, longlisted for the National Book Award and winner of the NBCC’s John Leonard Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and Greece’s Athens Prize for Literature. He has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Award, the National Magazine Award, the Berlin Prize Fellowship, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages. In 2017, Granta included Marra on its decennial Best Young American Novelists list. He has taught at Stanford University, and currently lives in Oakland, CA.

Martin Pousson, author of Black Sheep Boy (Rare Bird)
Martin Pousson was born and raised in Acadiana, the Cajun bayou land of Louisiana. Black Sheep Boy, his novel-in-stories, won the PEN Center USA Fiction Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and it was featured on NPR’s The Reading Life, as a Los Angeles Times Literary Pick, and as a Book Riot Must-Read Indie Press Book. No Place, Louisiana, his first novel, was a finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award, and Sugar, his book of poems, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry.

# # #