The novel was selected by judges Eugenia Kim, Rebecca Makkai, and Rion Amilcar Scott. It stood out among the 500 eligible novels and short story collections by American authors published during this past year, submitted by over 200 publishing houses. The PEN/Faulkner Award is the country’s most prestigious peer-juried literary honor. It also comes with a very nice $15,000 prize.
Of the winning novel, the judges have said, “Putting no moral gloss on its subjects, and infused with the gravitas of a fittingly Greek mythos, this novel explores the complexities of the refugees’ lives and the intricacies of Mina’s relationships, examines the many angles of a timely and vital subject, and probes the life-changing choices humans are forced to make. The exquisite language suspends time and investigates the intricacies of seeking refuge, both from geo-political disruptions and from one’s own patterns of life. In a year of stunning and important fiction, this work stands as a particular achievement: a novel that cries out to be heard and that teaches us, both intrinsically and extrinsically, what story can do.”
Hungry for more? You can read a short story by the winner here.