Helene Wecker has been named the winner of the 2014 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award for her debut, The Golem and the Jinni (published in May 2013). Wecker’s captivating supernatural novel was chosen over two other outstanding first novels, Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon (Simon and Schuster) and Fort Starlight by Claudia Zuluaga (Engine Books). [Read my review and interview.]
The Golem and the Jinni was selected from over 110 debut novel submissions, following a year-long reading period by a group of volunteer readers and a panel of judges. A group of twelve semi-finalists was announced on May 13, with the three finalists announced on May 28.
The prize includes a $5,000 cash award and participation in a three-day First Novelist Festival at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in the fall. The date of the awards ceremony remains to be determined.
The most recent winners include Ramona Ausubel in 2013 for No One is Here Except All of Us and Justin Torres in 2012 for We the Animals.
Yoon’s novel won the 2014 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award on June 9 (in a crowded field including Matt Bell, Jennifer duBois, Anthony Marra, and Chinelo Okparanta).