Seventh Annual Award
The Archivist's Story (The Dial Press)
By Travis Holland
Moscow, 1939: In the recesses of the infamous Lubyanka Prison, a young archivist is sent to authenticate an unsigned story confiscated from one of the many political prisoners there. The writer is Isaac Babel. The great author is spending his last days forbidden to write, his final manuscripts consigned to the archivist, Pavel Dubrov, who will ultimately be charged with destroying them. The emotional jolt of meeting Babel face-to-face leads to a reckless decision: Pavel will save the last stories of the author he reveres, whatever the cost.
"The quiet authenticity about Holland's writing draw you in, and soon you will find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat . . . [H]eartbreaking and haunting work" (Library Journal).
A graduate of the University of Michigan, where he received his MFA, Travis Holland lives in Ann Arbor. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and Five Points.
Judges: Valley Haggard (writer for Style Weekly), Ann McMillan (author of Chickahominy Fever: A Civil War Mystery), and John Ulmschneider (University Librarian, VCU)
Finalists: Jesse Ball for Samedi the Deafness (Vintage Contemporaries) and Joshua Harmon for Quinnehtukqut (Starcherone Books)