Today Stanford University Libraries announced its shortlist for the seventh William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. You can read the press release here. For the fiction category, 15 books were named, which includes critically acclaimed books and authors. I am honored to say that my novel, A Village in the Fields, was nominated. I should add I am deeply humbled because I am in the company of amazing authors.
As the press release notes, “The awards are intended to encourage new or emerging writers and honor the Saroyan literary legacy of originality, vitality and stylistic innovation. The Saroyan Prize recognizes newly published works of both fiction and non-fiction.” The fiction judging panel comprises award-winning authors Sumbul Ali-Karamali, Heidi Durrow, and Elizabeth McKenzie.
Winners and finalists will be announced this summer. While Michael A. Keller, university librarian at Stanford, said, “The prize provides a great opportunity to learn about and engage with remarkable emerging authors, all while highlighting the talents of Saroyan himself,” I point out that being shortlisted provides a great opportunity. It opens eyes and windows. I hope that by being recognized today more people become interested in reading my novel – especially in the world of literary fiction – and learning more about the Filipino-American contributions to California’s farm labor movement through my protagonist, Fausto Empleo. I hope the world opens up, so to speak, beginning now, no matter the outcome. Suffice to say, receiving this honor is enough for me. Really. I’m over the moon honored and humbled.