Two pieces of very exciting news for FSG Originals authors: Catherine Lacey wins a Whiting Award and Amelia Gray is a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award!
Last week, Catherine Lacey, author of Nobody is Ever Missing and the forthcoming The Answers won a 2016 Whiting Award in Fiction. Since 1985, the Whiting Foundation has supported creative writing through the Whiting Awards, which are given annually to ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. The awards, of $50,000 each, are based on early accomplishment and the promise of great work to come.
Nobody is Ever Missing has been received with astounding praise since its release back in July. Here are some sound bites:
“[A] laser smart, affecting, confounding, recalcitrant, infuriating, relentlessly stylish debut novel . . . Using short chapters to stop for breath, Lacey stacks clause upon clause with unerring rhythm, one of those glorious gifts that not everyone’s been given and guided by that fabulous inner ear she teases out assonances and upends predictable constructions, modulating her phrases with repetitions, inversions, and tautly-strung wit, the novel propelled by sentences that wind their way inward before springing back out with renewed velocity.” —Nathan Huffstutter, Electric Literature
“This is how much I liked Catherine Lacey’s debut novel, Nobody Is Ever Missing: I read it over a summer weekend, mostly transfixed, earmarking nearly every other page to identify perceptions or turns of phrase I might wish to return to . . . Nobody Is Ever Missing satisfies all my inchoate readerly impulses—including the primary one of getting out of my own skin and into someone else’s—in a way that, say, Donna Tartt’s more explicitly pitched The Goldfinch decidedly does not . . . Lacey is a very gifted writer and thinker, and if this is what post-wounded women sound like—diffident about the pain of being alive, funny and dead-on about the obstacles to being their best selves—I say bring ‘em on.” —Daphne Merkin, The New Yorker
This week, Amelia Gray’s Gutshot was named a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. Established in 2001, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award is a $10,000 prize awarded each spring to a writer age 35 or younger for a novel or a collection of short stories. This annual award recognizes the work of young authors and celebrates their accomplishments publicly, making a difference in their lives as they continue to build their careers. This prize is part of the Library’s Young Lions program, a membership group for people in their 20s and 30s who are committed to supporting the organization and to celebrating young writers and artists who are making an impact on this city’s cultural life. The winner of the Young Lions Fiction Award will be announced at a ceremony at the New York Public Library on June 9.
Amelia Gray sounds like no one else, and the reviews for Gutshot speak for themselves:
“Reading Gutshot is a little like being blindfolded and pelted from all sides with fire, Jell-O and the occasional live animal. You’ll be messy at the end and slightly beaten up, but surprised and certainly entertained . . . She pushes against the outer limits of what humans can and will do. She seems to be testing her readers, too. Will you come with me here? How about if I take it a little further? Are you still game?” —Ramona Ausubel, The New York Times Book Review
“[Amelia Gray’s] writing is by turns horrifying, funny, sexy and grotesque, but woe be to those who want to pin it down as horror, comedy, romance or fantasy. Sentence by sentence, these stories are simple, rarely complicated by rhetorical flourishes or formal experimentation, but the scenes they build can be deeply complex - and the emotions they summon often contradictory, too. And, at the beating heart of it all, Gray’s on a quest to reclaim the body’s rightful place in literature - the clumsy, bloody, inconvenient body, which so often gets left behind in high-minded drama . . . By baring a bit of blood to the world, she reminds readers we’re blood-bearing creatures after all, not just selves but bodies with beating hearts.” —Colin Dwyer, NPR