Women writers highlight roster of semifinalists for VCU Cabell First Novelist Award

VCU CFNA 2015 Semifinalists

Judges for the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award have released the list of this year’s semi-finalists, which includes books by six outstanding women writers.

The dozen titles were evenly divided by gender, and the competition is stiff. One glance at the nominees makes clear that there are a lot of great new writers out there (“new” being relative, of course, since there are no overnight successes in writing).

The Award is “a tribute to writers who have navigated their way through the maze of imagination—who have invented their own compasses and created characters, plots, and voices to enliven the common hours,” according to the CFNA website.

The nominees, in alphabetical order, are:

Alix Christie, Gutenberg’s Apprenctice

Rene Denfeld, The Enchanted

Boris Fishman, A Replacement Life

Roxane Gay, An Untamed State

Smith Henderson, Fourth of July Creek

Bret Anthony Johnston, Remember Me Like This

Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You

Rebecca Rostert, Last Night at the Blue Angel

Jess Row, Your Face in Mine

James Scott, The Kept

Josh Weil, The Great Glass Sea

Morowa Yejide, Time of the Locust

The winner will be announced next month, followed by an awards ceremony at VCU in November.

Recent winners of the Cabell First Novelist Award include Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni, 2014), Ramona Ausubel (No One is Here Except All of Us, 2013), and Justin Torres (We the Animals, 2012).


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