PEN/Faulkner Award Noms Are a Powerhouse

by Meredith Turits

Sometimes, when literary award nominees come out, you look at the finalists and go, "Meh." And other times, lists come through, and, like the literary devotee you are, you sort of want to stand up and go, "Nailed it, committee!" (Or maybe that's just me, whatever.)

The 2014 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction finalists were just released and, well, take one look at this list, and you tell me what camp we're in this time around:

  • Daniel Alarcón for At Night We Walk in Circles (Riverhead)
  • Percival Everett for Percival Everett by Virgil Russell (Graywolf)
  • Karen Joy Fowler for We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Putnam)
  • Joan Silber for Fools (Norton)

And with that, I'll now sit back down in my chair.

The range represented is fantastic, not only with both women and men, but with short story collections and novels. The selection is also an homage to literature that treads off the beaten path, with Everett's experimental narrative shape in Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, Alarcón's unnamed narrator in At Night We Walk in Circles , and Fowler's unusual subject matter in We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. (I'd tell you what it's about, but you should go into reading that book completely blind.)

The winner will be announced April 2, and will pocket $15,000. Not bad for a day's work.