$35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize For Fiction with Social Impact


September 28, 2016

 The Aspen Institute announced today the launch of the Aspen Words Literary Prize, an annual award recognizing an influential work of fiction that focuses on vital contemporary issues.

Open to authors of any nationality, the $35,000 award is one of the largest literary prizes in the United States, and one of the few focused exclusively on fiction with a social impact. The inaugural award will be conferred for books published in English in the United States in 2017. Eligible works include novels or short story collections that address questions of violence, inequality, gender, the environment, immigration, religion, race, or other social issues.

More information about the prize, eligibility, and selection process is available here.

“We hope that this prize will elevate the role that fiction can play in illuminating social issues and building compassion around society’s greatest human challenges,” said Aspen Words Executive Director Adrienne Brodeur.

“The Aspen Words Literary Prize is an innovative application of the Institute’s mission to bring people together around the vital issues of our time,” said Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. Elliot Gerson, Executive Vice President of Policy and Public Programs added: “Literature is one of the most powerful ways to expand our perspectives and find common ground.”

The finalists and winner will be selected by a five-member jury including Stephen Carter, an Aspen Institute trustee, New York Times-bestselling novelist, and law professor at Yale; Jessica Fullerton, a librarian and longtime participant in Aspen Words programs; Phil Klay, Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq War and author of the 2014 National Book Award-winning short story collection RedeploymentAlondra Nelson, Dean of Social Science at Columbia University and author of The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome; and Akhil Sharma, author of the PEN/Hemingway Award-winning novel An Obedient Father and the 2015 Folio Prize-winning novelFamily Life. 

The submission process will open to publishers early next year. Finalists and the winner will be recognized at an awards ceremony in early spring 2018 in New York City. The winner will be the featured speaker and guest of honor in Aspen, Colorado for the June 2018 Aspen Words Summer Benefit.

For all press inquiries, please contact: 
Caroline Tory
Senior Program Associate – Communications
Phone: 970-925-3122 ext 3#

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