Deesha Philyaw has won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her debut short story collection The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.
The collection was chosen for this year’s prize by judges Charles Finch, Bernice L. McFadden, and Alexi Zentner, and was selected from 419 eligible works of fiction by American authors published in 2020 the U.S. and submitted by 170 publishing houses.
“Deesha Philyaw speaks in the funny, tender, undeceived voices of her title characters, who have more in common perhaps even than they know, from love to loss to God,” the judges said in a statement. “In the group portrait that emerges, Philyaw gives us that rarest and most joyful fusion—a book that combines the curious agility of the best short fiction with the deep emotional coherence of a great novel.”
[via Publishers Weekly]