Fifth Annual Award
A Sudden Country (Random House)
By Karen Fisher
On an arduous and dangerous journey west to Oregon in 1846, Lucy Mitchell persuades her husband to hire frontiersman James MacLaren, convinced that he’s the key to her family's safe passage. As their hidden stories and obsessions unfold, and pasts and cultures collide, both Lucy and MacLaren must confront the people they have truly been, are, and may become.
"A first-time novelist turns her own family’s past into a vigorous, deeply moving work of historical fiction . . . Elegantly written and powerfully original: a magnificent story and a remarkable debut" (Kirkus Reviews).
Winner of the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner, Spur, and the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Awards, Karen Fisher has worked as a teacher, wrangler, farmer, and carpenter, and she lives with her husband and their three children on an island in the Puget Sound. She is working on her second novel.
Judges: Lorraine Adams (author of Harbor and recipient of the 2005 VCU First Novelist Award), Sharon Arms Doucet (author of Why Lapin's Ears Are Long), and Ron Hogan (author of The Stewardess Is Flying the Plane! and publisher of the literary website Beatrice)