Paisley Rekdal Wins the 2016 AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction


Paisley Rekdal (photo credit: Austen Diamond)

Congratulations to Paisley Rekdal for winning this year’s Association of Writers & Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction with her work The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam. Rekdal is an essayist, photographer, and poet. She is the author of The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee, a book of essays; a photo-text memoir called Intimate; and five books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls without Pants, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, Imaginary Vessels, and Animal Eye. She has received numerous awards and fellowships for her work. She currently holds the position of managing editor at Mapping Salt Lake City, a community-written web atlas of Salt Lake City of which she is creator. She is a professor of English at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and holds a Master of Arts from the University of Toronto and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Paisley Rekdal’s The Broken Country will be published by the University of Georgia Press in the fall of 2017.

“Paisley Rekdal depicts and examines the far-reaching human effects of the Vietnam War in this deeply affecting, disquieting book. She also interrogates and interprets, from many different perspectives and points of view, the war’s damaging, long-lasting legacy,” said Michael Steinberg, the judge for this year’s AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction. “In beautifully rendered though unsparingly descriptive prose, Rekdal examines the larger scope of this war, most especially, the sheer number of people—refugees, immigrants, and natives alike—who were, as a result, permanently wounded and/or psychologically maimed. In order to piece together this most compelling narrative/meditation, Rekdal becomes, by turns, a fully realized investigative journalist and interviewer; witness and researcher; commentator and cultural critic. I also appreciate that, in her role as the reader’s narrator and guide, she’s always a deeply concerned, passionately engaged, human being.”

For more information on the award or to see a list of previously published winners and their books, check out the series page on our website.

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