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NC Author Among PEN/Faulkner Finalists

The finalists for the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction have been announced, representing new and established fiction writers, American citizens all, taking on the challenges of our modern culture.

The winner of the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction will be announced on April 29, 2019. The winner receives $15,000.

Whitsett resident Ivelisse Rodriguez is the author of Love War Stories, a short-story collection. This full-length debut recieved blurbs from authors such as Junot Diaz and Patricia Engel. Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Rodriguez is a Kimbilio fellow and a VONA/Voices alum.

The finalists are:

Tomb of the Unknown Racist by Blanche McCrary Boyd (Counterpoint Press)
Tomb of the Unknown Racist is a thrilling novel set in the shadow of the Oklahoma City bombing, the subculture of white supremacy, and deep state government. A family drama set against political and racial struggle, it is a tour de force end to a trilogy by a stunning writer whose work has offered a resonant survey of politics and activism across the American experience.



The Overstory by Richard Powers (Norton)
A monumental novel about trees people by one of our most “prodigiously talented” (The New York Times Book Review) novelists. Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize, it is also a New York Times Notable, Washington Post, Time, Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2018.




Love War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez (The Feminist Press at CUNY)
Puerto Rican girls are brought up to want one thing: true love. Yet they are raised by women whose lives are marked by broken promises, grief, and betrayal. While some believe that they’ll be the ones to finally make it work, others swear not to repeat cycles of violence. This collection documents how these “love wars” break out across generations as individuals find themselves caught in the crosshairs of romance, expectations, and community.



Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi (Mariner)
An adventure tale, a love story, and a paean to the power of language and literature starring a heroine as quirky as Don Quixote, as introspective as Virginia Woolf, as whip-smart as Miranda July, and as spirited as Frances Ha, Call Me Zebra will establish Van der Vliet Oloomi as an author “on the verge of developing a whole new literature movement” (Bustle).




Don’t Skip Out on Me by Willy Vlautin (Harper Perennial)
From award-winning author Willy Vlautin, comes this moving novel about a young ranch hand who goes on a quest to become a champion boxer to prove his worth.





These titles are available wherever books are sold, including your local bookstore.

For more information about the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, including past winners, click here.