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2019 Simpson Literary Prize Shortlist Finalists Announced

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

Download the full press release (297KB PDF)

LAFAYETTE, CA, March 6, 2019—The six Shortlist Finalists for the 2019 Simpson Literary Prize, recognizing mid-career authors in fiction, were officially announced today at a private ceremony. The $50,000 Prize has been awarded annually since 2017. 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 six Shortlist Finalists were selected from authors confidentially nominated by publishers, reviewers, agents, authors, and author representatives.

The Shortlist Finalists for the 2019 Simpson Literary Prize are:

Rachel Kushner, author of The Mars Room (Scribner)

Laila Lalami, author of The Moor’s Account (Vintage)

Valeria Luiselli, author of Lost Children Archive (Knopf)

Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend (Riverhead)

Anne Raeff, author of Winter Kept Us Warm (Counterpoint)

Amor Towles, author of A Gentleman in Moscow (Viking)

Read more about the six finalists.

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


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 member of the Simpson Family Literary Project Committee

The Prize Recipient is expected to be named in April 2019. The recipient will give readings in the Bay Area in October 2019 and will participate in a two-week residency in Lafayette and Berkeley, California, during the Spring Semester 2020.

The Simpson 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 County 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 is the current Simpson Literary Project Writer-in-Residence. In addition, 2017 Simpson Literary Prize Winner T. Geronimo Johnson, author of Welcome to Braggsville (HarperCollins), and 2018 Simpson Literary Prize Winner Anthony Marra, author of The Tsar of Love and Techno (Hogarth), are expected to continue their efforts and engagements with the Simpson Literary Project.

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