Inside FC2's Innovative Fiction Prizes

Read more from G&A: The Contest Blog

Posted 8.25.10 by Prize Reporter

With a new batch of deadlines listings just posted in our Grants & Awards database, over the next few days we'll be highlighting select prizes with details about what winners can expect, judge profiles, winner stats, and more.

Fiction Collective Two (FC2), an imprint of the University of Alabama Press, is now accepting short story collections, novellas, and novels of any length for its two prizes, the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, which offers fifteen thousand dollars, and the one-thousand-dollar Ronald Sukenick American Book Review Innovative Fiction Prize. Both awards include publication by FC2.

We asked FC2 how the winners’ books are promoted, how the authors are publicized, and if finalists are typically awarded publication. Here’s what managing editor Carmen Edington had to say:

"Both contests' winners benefit from FC2's imprint-of-the-University-of-Alabama-Press (UAP) status. Together with UAP, FC2 promotes our authors in several national literary magazines, on our Web site and blog, and at the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference.

"FC2 aims to publish books of high quality whose style, subject matter, and form push the limits of American publishing. Our contests help us discover writers who are doing this and who have been doing this for years but haven't yet found a home for their writing."

The number of finalists published typically varies from none to two, according to Edington.

In 2009 Tricia Bauer received the first annual Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize for Father Flashes, which will be released in March 2011. Bauer, who works as vice president of special markets for Rosen Publishing in Manhattan, has previously published four books: Working Women and Other Stories (Bridge Works, 1995), Boondocking (St. Martin’s Press, 1999), Hollywood & Hardwood (St. Martin’s Press, 2000), and Shelterbelt (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). The Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize accepts submissions from any U.S. writer who has published a minimum of three books. Entries will be accepted until November 1.

The judge for this year’s contest is Ben Marcus, the author of The Age of Wire and String (Dalkey Archive Press, 1998), Notable American Women (Vintage Contemporaries, 2002), and The Father Costume (Artspace Books, 2002), who will also pen the foreword to the winning book. Known for his surrealist fiction, Marcus is the 2009 recipient of the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction, and many other fellowships and prizes.

Sara Greenslit, a veterinarian at Healthy Pet Veterinary Clinic in Wisconsin, won the 2009 Ronald Sukenick American Book Review Innovative Fiction Prize for her novel As If a Bird Flew by Me which will also be released in 2011. She is also the author of The Blue of Her Body, which won the Starcherone Fiction Prize in 2005. The Sukenick Prize is open to any U.S. writer who has no history of publication with FC2. The deadline for submissions is November 1.

Kate Bernheimer, a member of FC2’s board of directors and editor of Fairy Tale Review, is slated to select this year’s winning manuscript. Members of the FC2 board of directors will also select finalists for both prizes.

Manuscripts will be judged on how well they fulfill FC2’s mission to publish “fiction considered by America’s largest publishers too challenging, innovative, or heterodox for the commercial milieu.” According to FC2’s website, these are works of “high quality and exceptional ambition whose styles, subject matter, or forms push the limits of American publishing and reshape our literary culture.”

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