Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Congratulations, Lorraine!

A short story collection by a Vanderbilt University professor described as “an amazingly original Flannery O’Connor/Loretta Lynn collision” is one of five nominees for the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Homicide Survivors Picnic by Lorraine Lopez, associate professor of English at Vanderbilt, will compete with books by Sherman Alexie, Barbara Kingsolver, Lorrie Moore and Colson Whitehead for the award, which comes with $15,000. The other four finalists will receive $5,000.

The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is the largest peer-juried prize for fiction in America.

“This is truly an amazing honor,” said Lopez, who teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Vanderbilt. “I have long admired the other finalists and am thrilled to be in such esteemed company.”

The winner will be named May 8 at the 30th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

“Overwhelmed by book-length stories and storytellers, we three writer-judges had to knuckle down and settle in for some serious summer, fall and winter reading and inner-listening,” said judge Al Young. “We managed to come up with five lingering beauties that freshly express the complex ways Americans believe and behave.”

The other judges were Rilla Askew and Kyoko Mori. The nominations were announced Feb. 23.

Homicide Survivors Picnic illustrates the lives of men, women, teenagers and children at turning-point moments. The title story follows a single mother as she drives her pregnant teenage daughter and son to a gathering for survivors of murdered loved ones.

“An amazingly original Flannery O’Connor/Loretta Lynn collision, this collection lets us witness the indomitable spirit and forces us to take pure joy in all we really ever have a chance at: flowed, gorgeous, weird, rollicking, screwed survival,” wrote critic Heather Sellers of Homicide Survivors Picnic.

For more information on the awards and The PEN/Faulkner Foundation, see

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