Christos Ikonomou will be the first recipient of the Chowdhury Prize in Literature, a new, annual international mid-career award for exceptional writers. Ikonomou was born in 1970 in Athens, and is the author of four collections of short fiction: The Woman on the Rails (2003), Something Will Happen, You’ll See (2010), Good Will Come From The Sea (2014), and The Volcano Daughters (2017).
The Chowdhury Prize in Literature seeks to identify authors who, like Mr. Ikonomou, are at an inflection point, with a body of work behind them, but also with significant future potential. It is this future work that the prize seeks to encourage; it is not a retrospective award but one intended to assist writers to push ahead into new territories. The prize comes with a $20,000 award and is the only prize of its kind to be awarded on the west coast of the United States.
The judges for this year’s award—Maggie Nelson, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Claudia Rankine, Arthur Sze, and David L. Ulin—describe Ikonomou’s stories as existing “in the space between the public and the private—or more accurately, in a landscape where the public can’t help but intrude upon the private, a zone of the interior and the exterior. His language is by turns direct and lyrical, with a tactile, physical sense of setting and character. It is remarkable, in every sense of the word.”
More information about the award can be found here.