Lee Maracle, Hoa Nguyen nominated for Neustadt International Prize

Described as the "American Nobel," the Neustadt International Prize is a $50,000 U.S. (approx. $65,260 Cdn) award given every two years to a poet, novelist or playwright.
Lee Maracle (left) and Hoa Nguyen are among the 2020 Neustadt Prize nominees. (Jason D'Souza/CBC, Neustadt Prize)

Canadians Lee Maracle and Hoa Nguyen are among nine writers from around the world nominated for the 2020 Neustadt International Prize.

Described as the "American Nobel," the Neustadt International Prize is a $50,000 U.S. (approx. $65,260 Cdn) award given every two years to a poet, novelist or playwright in recognition of their body of work.

Maracle is one of Canada's most celebrated writers. Her first book, the autobiographical novel Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel, was published in 1975 and was one of the first Indigenous works published in Canada.

Since then, Maracle has published acclaimed books across many genres, including I Am Woman, a critical 1988 text on racism and feminism in Canada, and the novels Ravensong and Celia's Song.

Her most recent books include the essay collection My Conversations with Canadians and the poetry collection Hope Mattersco-written with her daughters Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter.

Maracle was nominated by Winnipeg author Katherena Vermette.

Nguyen has published several poetry collections, including the 2017 Griffin Poetry Prize finalist Violet Energy IngotsThe book, described by the Griffin jury as a collection that "makes its own space," is about finding contemplation in everyday moments.

Her other books include As Long As Trees Last and Red Juice: Poems 1998-2008.

Nguyen received a Pushcart Prize in 2019. She was born in the Mekong Delta, raised in the U.S. and has lived in Canada since 2011.

Nguyen was nominated by American poet and fiction writer Vi Khi Nao.

The other nominees are:

  • French screenwriter Emmanuel Carrère
  • Italian American poet Jorie Graham
  • Filipino American poet and writer Jessica Hagedorn
  • Guatemalan American novelist Eduardo Halfon
  • Albanian French poet and novelist Ismail Kadare
  • Palestinian Arab novelist Sahar Khalifeh
  • Moroccan poet Abdellatif Laâbi

The nine Neustadt Prize jurors, who each nominated a candidate, will decide the winner.

The announcement will take place on Oct. 16 at the 2019 Neustadt Lit Fest, hosted by World Literature Today and the University of Oklahoma.

The 2018 Neustadt Prize winner was Edwidge Danticat.

Previous winners include Canadian writer Rohinton Mistry in 2012 and Gabriel García Márquez in 1972.


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