Browse Winners

2009 Winner

Eighth Annual Award
Vacation (McSweeney's)
By Deb Olin Unferth

A man follows his wife. The wife follows a stranger. The stranger leaves town and the man goes after him, determined to settle the score. But the man is not the only one looking for the stranger, and the stranger has troubles of his own. Amid all this, the earthquakes; a boy leaps out of window; and a dolphin swims free. With deadpan humor and skewed wordplay, Deb Olin Unferth weaves a mystery of hope and heartbreak.

"Unferth writes like a musician plays . . . The whole novel should be read aloud and relished" (Aimee Bender).

Deb Olin Unferth has also published a memoir, Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War (Henry Holt, 2011). She has received two Pushcart Prizes and was selected by Harper's Bazaar as an Editor's Choice: Names to Know in 2011. She teaches creative writing at Wesleyan University.

Judges: Andrew Blossom (editor of Richmond Noir), Travis Holland (author of The Archivist's Story and recipient of the 2008 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award), and Peter Orner (author of The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and recipient of the 2007 VCU First Novelist Award)

Finalists: David Mura for Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire (Coffee House Press) and Jesmyn Ward for Where the Line Bleeds (Agate Bolden)

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