The Center for Fiction 2017 First Novel Prize was awarded to Julie Lekstrom Hines for her debut novel Mikhail and Margarita (Europa Editions). Read about Mikhail and Margarita below and browse 2017’s shortlisted and longlisted 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.
- Mikhail and Margarita by Julie Lekstrom Himes (Europa Editions)
- As Lie Is to Grin by Simeon Marsalis (Catapult)
- Empire of Glass by Kaitlin Solimine (Ig Publishing)
- The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers (Algonquin Books)
- Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar (Little, Brown)
- Tiger Pelt by Annabelle Kim (Leaf~Land LLC)
- What to Do About the Solomons by Bethany Ball (Atlantic Monthly Press)
- All That’s Left to Tell by Daniel Lowe (Flatiron Books)
- Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz (Random House)
- Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Crystal King (Touchstone)
- Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Random House)
- The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico (Spiegel & Grau)
- Marlena by Julie Buntin (Henry Holt & Co.)
- Motherest by Kristen Iskandrian (Twelve)
- Murder on the Red River by Marcie R. Rendon (Cinco Puntos Press)
- My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (Riverhead Books)
- Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett (Tin House Books)
- Spoils by Brian Van Reet (Lee Boudreaux Books)
- Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan (Restless Books)
- Time’s a Thief by B. G. Firmani (Doubleday)
- Who Is Rich? by Matthew Klam (Random House)
- The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews (Little, Brown)
Mikhail and Margarita
By Julie Lekstrom Hines
Published by Europa Editions
It is 1933 in Russia and Mikhail Bulgakov’s enviable literary career is on the brink of being dismantled. His friend and mentor, the poet Osip Mandelstam, has been arrested, tortured, and sent into exile. Meanwhile, a mysterious agent of Stalin’s secret police has developed a growing obsession with exposing Bulgakov as an enemy of the state. To make matters worse, Bulgakov has fallen in love with the dangerously outspoken Margarita. Facing imminent arrest, infatuated with Margarita, he is inspired to write his masterpiece, The Master and Margarita, a satirical novel that is scathingly critical of power and the powerful.
Ranging from lively readings in the homes of Moscow’s elite to a Siberian gulag, Mikhail and Margarita recounts a passionate love triangle while painting a portrait of a country with a towering literary tradition confronting a dictatorship that does not tolerate dissent. Margarita is a strong, idealistic woman fiercely loved by two very different men, both of whom will struggle in their attempts to shield her from the machinations of a regime hungry for human sacrifice in a time of systematic deception.