Congratulations to Kia Corthron
for The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter
Winner of the 2016 First Novel Prize
Kia Corthron was awarded the Center for Fiction's 2016 First Novel Prize for her debut novel, The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter (Seven Stories Press). Last year's winner, Viet Thanh Nguyen, presented the award to her at our Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner on Tuesday, December 6th at The Metropolitan Club.
About The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter
Castle Cross was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice; reviewer Leonard Fitts, Jr. said, “[it] succeeds admirably in a novel's first and most difficult task: It makes you give a damn. It also does well by a novel's second task: It sends you away pondering what it has to say.” Famed political activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis called it “a stunning achievement by any measure… The untidiness of history is conveyed through experiences, dreams, and inevitable eruptions of violence, yet also unexpected patterns of escape and possible orbits of justice.”
On the eve of America's entry into World War II, in a tiny Alabama town, two brothers come of age in the shadow of the local chapter of the Klan, where Randall―a brilliant eighth-grader and the son of a sawmill worker―begins teaching sign language to his eighteen-year-old deaf and uneducated brother B.J. Simultaneously, in small-town Maryland, the sons of a Pullman Porter―gifted six-year-old Eliot and his artistic twelve-year-old brother Dwight―grow up navigating a world expanded both by a visit from civil and labor rights activist A. Philip Randolph and by the legacy of a lynched great-aunt. The four mature into men, directly confronting the fierce resistance to the early civil rights movement, and are all ultimately uprooted.
The author of more than fifteen plays produced nationally and internationally, Kia Corthron came to national attention in the early nineties with her play Come Down Burning. Portraying characters who live in extreme poverty or crisis and whose lives are otherwise invisible, her plays paint a disturbing picture of American history and its repercussions on our most intimate relationships. Corthron's most recent awards include a Windham Campbell Prize for Drama, the Simon Great Plains Playwright (Honored Playwright) Award, the USA Jane Addams Fellowship Award, and the Lee Reynolds Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women, and she has developed work through various international residencies. She has also written for television, receiving a Writers Guild Outstanding Drama Series Award and an Edgar Award for The Wire. She grew up in Cumberland, Maryland, and now lives in Harlem, New York City.
About the First Novel Prize
Our First Novel Prize is awarded to the best debut novel published between January 1 and December 31 of the award year. The author of the winning book is awarded $10,000 and each shortlisted author recieves $1,000.
Judges for the 2016 First Novel Prize were Chris Abani; Kate Christensen; Rivka Galchen; Kate Walbert; and Viet Thanh Nguyen, winner of the 2015 First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize. Click here to learn more about this year's short listed novels.