Aspen Words announces longlist for new literary prize, faculty for Summer Words
IF YOU GO …
What: Literary Prize Longlist Announcement Celebration
Where: Explore Booksellers
When: Wednesday, Dec. 13, 5-7 p.m.
How much: Free
Aspen Words will celebrate the longlist announcement of the inaugural Aspen Words Literary Prize on Wednesday at Explore Booksellers.
The new $35,000 price will go to a work of fiction with social impact. The 20 novels and short-story collections on the longlist will be pared down to five finalists, to be announced in March. A winner will be announced in an event at the Morgan Library in New York on April 10.
As first reported by the prize’s media sponsor, NPR Books, the longlist: “Salt Houses,” Hala Alyan; “What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky,” Lesley Nneka Arimah; “The Accusation,” Bandi; “Harmless Like You,” Rowan Hisayo Buchanan; “What We Lose,” Zinzi Clemmons; “The Graybar Hotel,” Curtis Dawkins; “The Locals,” Jonathan Dee; “Difficult Women,” Roxane Gay; “Exit West,” Mohsin Hamid; “The End We Start From,” Megan Hunter; “The Devil and Webster,” Jean Hanff Korelitz; “The Leavers,” Lisa Ko; “Black Moses,” Alain Mabanckou; “The Refugees,” Viet Than Nguyen; “The Tower of the Antilles,” Achy Obejas; “Music of the Ghosts,” Vaddey Ratner; “Lucky Boy,” Shanthi Sekaran; “Mad Country,” Samrat Upadhyay; “Chemistry,” Weike Wang; and “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” Jesmyn Ward.
“Literature should be inclusive, and this list reflects that ideal,” Aspen Words executive director Adrienne Brodeur said in the longlist announcement. “It includes small presses and large, debuts and established authors, a mix of story collections, novels and translations. Perhaps most exciting to me is the sheer variety of issues covered in these 20 titles — from immigration and inequality to climate change, mental illness, incarceration and cultural identity — these books reflect some of our most pressing challenges with artistry and humanity.”
The longlist will be evaluated by a jury comprised of novelists Phil Klay and Akhil Sharma, author and Columbia University professor Alondra Nelson, Yale University professor Stephen Carter and philanthropist Jessica Fullerton.
The winner of the Aspen Words Literary Prize is expected to give a talk June 19 at Aspen Summer Words Writers Conference and Literary Festival.
The nonprofit Monday announced its faculty for Summer Words, which will include a new narrative nonfiction workshop taught by “Hidden Figures” author Margot Lee Shetterly.
Her husband, Aran Shetterly, editor and author of “The Americano,” will teach a juried book-editing workshop.
Juried fiction workshops will be taught by three novelists: Peter Ho Davies (“The Fortunes”); Tom Perrotta (“Election” “Little Children” and “The Leftovers”); and J. Courtney Sullivan (“The Engagements” and “Saints for All Occasions”).
Two authors will lead memoir workshops: Heather Harpham (“Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After”) and Bich Minh Nguyen (“Stealing Buddha’s Dinner”). Tina Chang, poet laureate of Brooklyn, will give a poetry workshop. Helen Schulman, best-selling author of the novel “This Beautiful Life” and other novels, will teach a non-juried beginning writing workshop. And Bruce Handy, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair magazine, will moderate a readers’ retreat about great writing from Vanity Fair.
Aspen Words will begin accepting applications for Summer Words on Jan. 4.
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The octogenarian debutante’s 14 paintings were hung in March but went unseen until last month when the Aspen Art Museum opened to visitors following a closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The works date from the 1990s to 2019.