Virginia Commonwealth University First Novelist Award

9 February 2007

The Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University is pleased to announce its call for submissions for the Sixth Annual VCU First Novelist

The Fifth Annual VCU First Novelist Award, for a book published in 2005, will go to Karen Fisher for her novel A Sudden Country, published by Random House. The award will be presented at the First Novelist Forum, to be held in the fall of 2006 at VCU. Previous awards have gone to Lorraine Adams for Harbor, Michael Byers for Long for This World, Isabel Zuber for Salt, and Maribeth Fischer for The Language of Good-bye. The VCU First Novelist Award, created by Laura Browder (Slippery Characters, Rousing the Nation), playwright, and Tom De Haven (It’s Superman!, Funny Papers, Derby Dugan’s Depression Funnies, Dugan Under Ground, among others) novelist and facilitator of the program’s novel workshop, is presented on behalf of VCU’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. It is made possible in part by the generosity of Richmond writer and VCU alumnus David Baldacci (Total Control, Absolute Power). Co-sponsors include the VCU School of Mass Communications, the VCU School of World Studies, and eFollett VCU Bookstores. The award celebrates the nation’s first—and still one of the very few—year-long novel workshops.

Created to recognize a rising new talent in the literary world who has successfully published a first novel, nominations are solicited from MFA programs nationwide as well as from publishers, editors, agents, and writers. A panel of readers narrows the field to the four or five most promising new works of fiction, and from that short list, three prominent judges choose the recipient of the First Novelist Award. The First Novelist Forum was designed to highlight the journey a new writer assumes in his or her quest to contribute to the literary world. During this weekend-long event, we bring together the newly published author and his or her agent and editor for a series of events that focus on the creation, publication, and promotion processes involved with a first novel.

The itinerary includes a luncheon, a visit with a graduate fiction workshop, a public reading followed by a Q&A session, and other social events that draw together Richmond’s literary community and the public at large. Travel expenses to Richmond and lodging accommodations for the author, agent, and editor are provided, as well as a $1000 cash prize for the author. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2007. Please send 3 copies for review to:

First Novelist Award
VCU Department of English
PO Box 842005
Richmond, VA 23284-200

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