April 8, 2015

Atticus Lish wins PEN/Faulkner


Pen FaulknerGiancarlo DiTrapano, founder of the small press/magazine Tyrant Books, has a major award-winning book on his hands. Atticus Lish won the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award yesterday.

Preparation for the Next Life, Lish’s debut, also won the $5,000 Carla Furstenberg Cohen Literary Prize, awarded at Politics & Prose. The judges said the novel, “scours and illuminates the vast, traumatized America that lives, works and loves outside the castle gates. The result is an incantation, a song of ourselves, a shout.”

The initial print run was 3,500 copies, and you can be sure this small press had its printers on the phone right away. They may or may not be working with Sterling Pierce, the printer that refused to publish Marie Calloway‘s novel in 2013. (Was that just a publicity stunt?)

Lish is, as you may have suspected, the son of the famous editor Gordon Lish. It was the name “Atticus” that tipped you off, right?

The award ceremony is the first weekend in May, and the younger Lish will receive $15,000. The finalists will each receive $5,000: Jeffery Renard Allen, author of Song of the Shank; Jennifer Clement, author of Prayers for the Stolen; Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven; and Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation.

Here’s another award we’d like to see small press authors win: The National Book Award for Translation.



Kirsten Reach was an editor at Melville House.