Two Faculty in Low Residency M.F.A. Program Longlisted for PEN Literary Awards

Novelist Jill Alexander Essbaum and essayist David L. Ulin nominated

Jill Essbaum and David Ulin

Jill Alexander Essbaum and David L. Ulin have been nominated for PEN Literary Awards.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Two faculty members of UC Riverside’s Low Residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts in Palm Desert have been longlisted for 2016 PEN Literary Awards.

Jill Alexander Essbaum is nominated for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction for her novel “Hausfrau” (Random House, 2015). The award recognizes an author whose debut novel or collection of short stories “represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise,” according to the PEN American Center. The award carries a $25,000 prize.

David L. Ulin’s “Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles” (University of California Press, 2015) is nominated for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. The award, which comes with a $10,000 prize, is presented for a book of essays “that exemplifies the dignity and esteem that the essay form imparts to literature.”

Finalists will be named on Feb. 2. Winners of the debut fiction and art of the essay awards will be announced in a ceremony April 11 in New York City.

Essbaum is the author of four full-length collections of poetry including “Heaven,” which won the 1999 Bakeless Prize in poetry, and is a two-time National Endowment for the Arts literature fellow. She is an associate editor for the online journal ANTI- as well as the print magazine The National Poetry Review. She has written for secular and religious publications such as Poetry, The Christian Century, Image, No Tell Motel, Gulf Coast, and Christianity and Literature. Her debut novel, “Hausfrau,” is a New York Times Bestseller, an Amazon Best Book of the Month for March 2015, and was selected by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best books of 2015.

Ulin is a book critic and former book editor of the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of “The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time,” the novella “Labyrinth,” and the Library of America’s “Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology,” which won a California Book Award. He is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow whose work has appeared in various publications, among them The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, Bookforum, Virginia Quarterly Review, Columbia Journalism Review, and on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” Los Angeles Magazine named “Sidewalking” one of the best books of 2015.

The PEN Literary Awards are the most comprehensive in the United States. Awards are presented annually to writers in the fields of fiction, science writing, essays, sports writing, biography, children’s literature, translation, drama, and poetry.

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