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Chapel Hill Native Wins 7th Annual Crook’s Corner Book Prize

From our friends at Crook’s Corner Book Prize:

Devi S. Laskar

CHAPEL HILL—Devi S. Laskar’s The Atlas of Reds and Blues, published by Counterpoint Press, is the winner of the seventh annual Crook’s Corner Book Prize for best debut novel set in the American South.

This year’s judge was National Book Award-winning author Charles Frazier, who says, “I loved the very focused and concise ideas and dramatic situation, the efficient and effective structure, the strong and precise language.”

The Atlas of Reds and Blues grapples with the complexities of second-generation American life. Inspired by the author’s own terrifying experience of a mistaken police raid on her home, Devi S. Laskar’s debut novel explores, in spare and powerful prose, the ways in which racism permeates and pollutes the American dream. As the protagonist, known only as Mother, lies bleeding from a police gunshot wound in her Atlanta driveway, she revisits, in a time-bending mind-flash, her life as the successful child of immigrants from India, wife of a successful white businessman, and mother of three daughters.

Devi S. Laskar is a native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She holds an MFA from Columbia University in New York, an MA in South Asian Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in journalism and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is an alumna of The OpEd Project and VONA. The Atlas of Reds and Blues is her first novel. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Crook’s Corner Book Prize, established as a collaboration between the iconic Southern restaurant, Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the Crook’s Corner Book Prize Foundation, was inspired by the prestigious book awards long given by famous “literary cafés” in Paris.

Submissions are now open for next year’s Prize. For details, visit