NEW YORK (AP) – Rabih Alameddine “The Wrong End of the Telescope” a novel written in the second person about a transgender doctor named Mina who works in a Refugees camp for Syrians, won the PEN/Faulkner Prize for Fiction.
“This novel explores the complexities of refugee life and the intricacies of Mina’s relationships, examines the many angles of a timely and vital subject, and probes the life-changing choices humans are forced to make,” according to a statement released Tuesday by awarding judges. “The exquisite language suspends time and investigates the intricacies of seeking refuge, both from geopolitical disruption and from one’s own ways of life.”
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Alameddine, a Lebanese-American whose other works include National Book Award finalist “An Unnecessary Woman,” will receive $15,000. Philip Roth, EL Doctorow and Karen Joy Fowler are among the previous PEN/Faulkner winners.
“No writer can look at the list of books that have won the PEN/Faulkner Prize and not be humbled and honored to have their book among them,” Alameddine said in a statement.
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Last week, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced that Oprah Winfrey had been named its second annual Literary Champion, an honor for her lifetime contributions to literacy and for inspiring young readers and writers. The price was given to actor and ‘Reading Rainbow’ star LeVar Burton last year. PEN/Faulkner is also known for the annual fiction prize it has awarded since 1981.
“Oprah Winfrey is a literary force field,” PEN/Faulkner Board Vice Chair Mary Haft said in a statement last week. “She has been like a beacon, standing sentinel and illuminating literature and the lives of writers and readers.”
Winfrey received an honorary National Book Award in 1999. She will receive her PEN/Faulkner Award at a virtual ceremony on May 2.