WMU press scores first National Book Award nomination

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News

Cover image of the book Barren Island by Carol Zoref.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A book published by Western Michigan University's New Issues Poetry & Prose has made the longlist of books being considered for the National Book Award for Fiction.

The book, "Barren Island," is by Carol Zoref. The nomination marks the first time a New Issues publication has been selected in the annual contest. New Issues Poetry and Prose was established in 1996 by poet Herbert S. Scott and publishes four to six new poetry titles each year, as well as the winner of the AWP Award Series in the Novel.


Zoref is one of 10 authors on this year's longlist and is one of four new writers on the list. "Barren Island," winner of the Associated Writing Program Award Series in the Novel, revolves around Marta Eisenstein Lane's retelling of her remarkable family's life on the rank, forsaken sand bar of Barren Shoal, immersing the reader in a world most would not know existed.

"As hardscrabble as these lives may be, they are suffused with strange beauty and love by Marta's solicitude and honesty," says Paul Harding, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. " 'Barren Island' is bighearted, generous and fascinating."

Zoref, a fiction writer and essayist, is director of the Writing Center at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the recipient of fellowships and grants from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Hall Farm Center for the Arts, and In Our Own Write. She is the winner of the IOWW Emerging Artist Award and a finalist for the Henfield Award, American Fiction Award and a Pushcart Prize.

National Book Award authors with WMU ties

WMU's prior connection to the National Book Award has been through its outstanding authors. Jaimy Gordon, professor emeritus of English, won the award in 2010 for "Lord of Misrule," and alumna Bonnie Jo Campbell was a finalist in 2009 for "American Salvage."

For more information, visit nationalbook.org or newissuespress.com.

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