Aspen Words — part of the Aspen Institute — has announced the longlist for this year's Aspen Words Literary Prize. The $35,000 award recognizes fiction that "illuminates a vital contemporary issue."
The annual award, doled out in partnership with NPR, honors fiction that doesn't shy from grappling with thorny social issues. Just one of the five books remaining will win $35,000 come April.
The literary prize, which honors fiction that tackles tough social issues, has announced a longlist of 16 titles. The nominees for the $35,000 prize include some big names and plenty of debuts.
The novel earned Jones the $35,000 award for tackling difficult social issues in fiction. The prize's head judge says the book is "going to have a place in the literary imagination for a long time."
Five books remain in the running: Tommy Orange's There There; Tayari Jones' An American Marriage; David Chariandy's Brother; Jennifer Clement's Gun Love; and Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.
His magical realist novel on the lives of refugees "hints at possibilities for doing better," judges said. And it won him the prize, which recognizes fiction tackling today's thorniest social issues.
The award, which focuses on pressing social issues, has revealed its inaugural shortlist — including fiction by Jesmyn Ward, Zinzi Clemmons, Mohsin Hamid, Samrat Upadhyay and Lesley Nneka Arimah.
The annual prize, in its inaugural year, will be awarded to one work of fiction. For the next few months, 20 books remain in contention — including works by Jesmyn Ward, Roxane Gay and Lisa Ko.
It was a chance to meet — briefly — the new Aspen fellows, who are out to fix the world. We tried a light question to break the ice.
The rising star was the first Nigerian to come out on national TV, was nearly beaten to death in his home and is now an international activist for LGBT rights and for men with HIV.