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November 7, 2012

Submissions Open for $50,000 Literary Prize

Last Prize Recipient Jonathan Dee Read From Winning Book The Privileges

St. Francis College officially began accepting submissions for the 2013 $50,000 Literary Prize after the current prize recipient, author Jonathan Dee, read from his award winning book, The Privileges, on October 25 at the College.

Dee was the second winner of the bi-annual $50,000 Prize and will sit on the jury for the next competition. All authors who published their 3rd to 5th work of fiction between June 2011 and May 2013 are eligible. Self-published books and English translations will be considered. More information is available on the St. Francis College website.

"It's a prize that has no parallel really among existing literary prizes and comes at perfect time in a writer's career," said Dee. "There's a lot of attention when you make your debut. There's a lot of attention if you're lucky when you die, but in between sometimes you're a little bit at sea."

After reading from his work, Dee engaged in a lengthy interview with author Darcey Steinke (Easter Everywhere), who sat on the 2011 prize jury. He told the audience how grateful he was to the College and that winning the prize made a huge difference in his career.

Dee's book rose to the top of the 116 entries for the literary award, which is aimed at encouraging mid-career authors to continue honing their craft. Authors on the short list were Kevin Brockmeier, The Illumination (Pantheon); Joshua Cohen, Witz (Dalkey Archive Press); Yiyun Li, Gold Boy Emerald Girl (Random House); Marlene van Niekerk, Agaat (Tin House Books); and Brad Watson, Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives (W. W. Norton & Company).

The first award was handed out in 2009 to Aleksandar Hemon for his book, Love and Obstacles (Riverhead Books).

The award is part of the College's larger mission to support writers in Brooklyn and beyond. The College brings numerous authors to campus every year through events like the Walt Whitman Writers Series, including: E.L. Doctorow, Kate Christensen, Julie Orringer, Jonathan Lethem and Nikki Giovanni.

In an attempt to further support the community, St. Francis donated more than 140 copies of past submission to Brooklyn Community Services which added them to the library of Brooklyn Leadership High School.

About Jonathan Dee
Jonathan Dee teaches in the graduate writing programs at Columbia University and the New School. He is also a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, a frequent contributor to Harper's, and a former senior editor of The Paris Review.

His novel, The Privileges tells the story of Adam and Cynthia Morey. With Adam's rising career in the world of private equity, a beautiful home in Manhattan, gorgeous children, and plenty of money, they are, by any reasonable standard, successful. But as Cynthia begins to drift, Adam must decide how much he is willing to risk to ensure his family's happiness and to recapture the sense that the only acceptable life is one of infinite possibility. The Privileges is an odyssey of a couple touched by fortune, changed by time, and guided above all else by their epic love for each other.

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.

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