PEN Award finalists announced

From today’s Washington Post, written by Marissa Newhall:

Books by Sherman Alexie, Barbara Kingsolver, Lorraine M. López, Lorrie Moore and Colson Whitehead are finalists for the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced Tuesday.

Alexie’s short-story collection “War Dances” and Kingsolver’s historical novel “The Lacuna” are in contention for the $15,000 prize along with López’s “Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories,” Moore’s “A Gate at the Stairs” and Whitehead’s “Sag Harbor.”

The winner of the award, the country’s largest peer-juried prize for fiction, will be named March 23.

Judges considered nearly 350 entries — all novels and short-story collections by American authors published in 2009.

Last year’s winner, “Netherland” by Joseph O’Neill, was rushed into paperback after President Obama mentioned it in a newspaper interview. Having tired of briefing books, Obama said, he had taken respite in O’Neill’s tale of cricket and friendship in post-9/11 New York City.

As each year’s winner is thought of as “first among equals,” all five finalists will be honored May 8 at an award ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Each runner-up will receive $5,000.

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