Thursday, September 3, 2009

Winners of the 2009 Iowa short-fiction awards -- "How to Leave Hialeah" by Jennine Capó Crucet and "All That Work and Still No Boys" by Kathryn Ma -- have become available from the University of Iowa Press.

Ma's book won the Iowa Short Fiction Award, which has been presented annually since 1969. Her ten stories probe the immigrant experience, most particularly among northern California's Chinese Americans, illuminating the confounding nature of duty, transformation and loss.

Curtis Sittenfeld, author of "American Wife" and "Prep," wrote, "With subtle intelligence and wry humor, Kathryn Ma brings us characters whose lives are complicated -- in all the best ways -- by family, race, immigration and quirks of personality. These wonderful stories have the resonance of truth even as they make you see the world in new ways."

"How to Leave Hialeah" won the John Simmons Short Fiction Award, which was founded in 1998 in honor of the first director of the UI Press. Crucet's stories focus on the Cuban-American community of Miami, shaped by the people and landscapes of South Florida and by the stories of Cuba told by her family.

Charles Baxter wrote, "What a joy it is to read the work of a writer who has a powerful voice, a sense of humor, and a feeling for local histories. Jennine Capó Crucet's stories start with Cuban American neighborhoods and cultures and then sail off into the direction of the great themes: love, familial bonds, aging, and death. And resurrection. This is a wonderful collection."