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September 19, 2015

Maud Casey Wins $50,000 Literary Prize

The Man Who Walked Away (Bloomsbury USA) Claims $50,000 Award

The Man Who Walked Away helped Maud Casey walk away with $50,000 as the winner of the 2015 St. Francis College Literary Prize, one of the richest book prizes in the United States. Casey's win was announced Saturday night at the Irondale Center during the opening gala for the 10th Annual Brooklyn Book Festival.

Casey's novel which takes a look at the beginnings of mental health care through one man's journey was selected from 130 submissions. Readers will get to hear from her at a Book Festival panel of authors who made the shortlist, Sunday morning at 10:00am at St. Francis College.

Watch Maud and the short list authors at the Booklyn Book Festival

"Any of the six finalists could easily have won this prize, and probably two-dozen other of the amazing books we read to reach a decision could have as well," said Daniel Torday (The Last Flight of Poxl West), one of the three jurors for the 2015 prize. "Casey's writing struck us for the quality of its sentences, by turns lyrical and hardnosed, the depth of its research, and its subtly intricate structure."

The other two jurors for the prize were authors Sigrid Nunez (A Feather on the Breath of God) and Erin McGraw (The Baby Tree). The Literary Prize is awarded to a mid-career author for their third to fifth published book. The three jurors selected the following five writers for the 2015 short list:

  • Paul Beatty, The Sellout (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
  • Stuart Dybek, Paper Lantern (Farrar, Straus, Giroux)
  • David Gilbert, & Sons (Random House)
  • Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings (Riverhead)
  • René Steinke, Friendswood (Riverhead)

All finalists except Stuart Dybek, who has been traveling, are expected to be at the panel.

"With so much attention paid to debuts and late-career accolades, it seems particularly important for there to be an award like the St. Francis Literary Prize," added Torday. "With a focus only on mid-career books of fiction, the award captures writers when many are hitting their highest notes the loudest."

In addition to The Literary Prize panel, St. Francis College will host nearly 20 other panels including, The Writer's Life at 11:00am with Joyce Carol Oates (The Lost Landscape), Ben Greenman (Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?) and Pico Iyer (The Art of Stillness); Concrete Jungle--Where Dreams are Made at 12:00pm with John Leguizamo (Ghetto Klown) and Jonathan Lethem (Lucky Alan and Other Stories); Paul Holdengräber and Salman Rushdie in Conversation. Paul Holdengräber at 5:00pm.

The Literary Prize and the Brooklyn Book Festival are just two ways that St. Francis College supports the writing community. The College also welcomes authors to campus throughout the year, most recently, Junot Díaz, Stephen King, Peter Straub and Alicia Ostriker.

Margaret Atwood comes to St. Francis College October 9.

$50,000 St. Francis College Literary Prize Past Winners:
2015 Maud Casey, The Man Who Walked Away
2013 David Vann, Dirt
2011 Jonathan Dee, The Privileges
2009 Aleksandar Hemon, Love and Obstacles

Maud Casey, The Man Who Walked Away (Bloomsbury USA),
is the author of three novels, The Shape of Things to Come, Genealogy, The Man Who Walked Away; and a collection of stories, Drastic. She is the recipient of the Calvino Prize, a DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and numerous international residency fellowships including, most recently, the Dora Maar House and the BAU Institute at Camargo Summer Arts Residency Fellowship. Her stories have appeared in The Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, The American Scholar, The Normal School, Forklift, Ohio, Bellevue Literary Journal, and American Fiction. Her book reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Literary Imagination, Salon, A Public Space, and Post Road. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Sigrid Nunez has published six novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, and, most recently, Salvation City. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. Among the journals to which she has contributed are The New York Times, Threepenny Review, Harper's, McSweeney's, The Believer, and Tin House. Her honors and awards include four Pushcart Prizes, a Whiting Writer's Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, and two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Rosenthal Foundation Award and the Rome Prize in Literature.

Erin McGraw is the author of six books of fiction, most recently the novels The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard (Houghton Mifflin, 2008), and Better Food for a Better World (Slant Books, 2013). Her short fiction and essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Story, The Atlantic Monthly, Good Housekeeping, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Allure, and other magazines and journals. She teaches at the Ohio State University, and is married to the poet Andrew Hudgins.

Daniel Torday recently published his debut novel, The Last Flight of Poxl West (St. Martin's Press). His novella, The Sensualist, won the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction. Torday's short stories and essays have appeared in Esquire Magazine, Glimmer Train, Harvard Review, The New York Times and The Kenyon Review. He is currently the Director of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College.

Photo Credits:
Maud Casey: Zach Veilleux

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.


St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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