The Center for Fiction 2012 First Novel Prize (then called the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize) was awarded to Ben Fountain for his debut novel Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco/HarperCollins). Read about Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk below and browse 2012’s shortlisted titles.
This annual award was created in 2006 to honor the best first novel of the year. Debut novels published between January 1 and December 31 of the award year are eligible. The winner is announced in December at our Annual Awards Benefit.
- Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (Ecco/HarperCollins)
- Absolution by Patrick Flanery (Riverhead Books/Penguin)
- Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson (Grove Press, an imprint of Grove/Atlantic, Inc.)
- The Dog Stars by Peter Heller(Alfred A. Knopf)
- Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
- Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead (Alfred A. Knopf)
- The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown and Company)
- The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (Little, Brown and Company)
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
By Ben Fountain
Published by Ecco/HarperCollins
Set during a single day—in fact, the action unfolds during the course of one Thanksgiving Dallas Cowboys football game at Texas Stadium—it is a novel about the American war in Iraq, football, cheerleaders, the movie business, capitalism, love, sex, the transmigration of souls, and the general insanity of everyday life in America. The eight surviving members of Bravo Squad have been touring the U.S. on a media-intensive “Victory Tour” initiated by the Bush administration. Four months into their combat tour in Iraq, Bravo defeated an elite force of enemy insurgents. The most critical minutes of the battle were captured on film by a Fox News crew and the video has gone viral, turning the men of Bravo into celebrity heroes. But the victory had a cost, most notably the death of Sergeant Breem, aka “Shroom,” and the loss of both legs by Specialist Lake. At the tail-end of their media blitz, the eight survivors of Bravo Squad are guests of honor at the nationally-broadcast game, where all sorts of wild adventures will unfold—not least of all for Billy Lynn, Bravo’s Silver Star-winning, nineteen-year-old virginal hero.