Announcing the 2017 Vermont Book Award finalists!

The finalists for the third annual Vermont Book Award were chosen across four genres—children’s literature, creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

The eight finalists are:

  • Jensen Beach, “Swallowed by the Cold”: The intricate, interlocking stories of this collection are set in a Swedish village on the Baltic Sea as well as in Stockholm over the course of two eventful years.
  • Melanie Finn, “The Gloaming”: After a tragic car accident leaves her overcome with guilt, a woman alights for Africa, where she befriends the locals. After a sign of a witch doctor’s curse shows up in the village, the woman volunteers to rid the town of the box and its contents.
  • Margot Harrison, “The Killer in Me”: This debut psychological thriller for young adults examines which is more terrifying, the possibility that your nightmares are real or that they begin and end with you.
  • Robin MacArthur, “Half Wild”: Spanning nearly 40 years, the stories in this debut collection give voice to the dreams, hungers, and fears of a diverse cast of Vermonters and their struggle to make sense of their loneliness and longings.
  • Angela Palm, “Riverine”: This debut memoir-in-essays explores the relationship between identity and place, and the complexities of going back home.
  • Elizabeth Powell, “Willy Loman’s Reckless Daughter”: This theatrical book of poems plays out against and expands upon the backdrop of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.”
  • Alison Prine, “Steel”: This debut collection of poetry explores the absences left by two tragic events—the early loss of the poet’s mother and her brother’s death. 
  • Mary Ruefle, “My Private Property”: Comprised of short prose pieces, this creative nonfiction collection displays Ruefle’s humor, deep imagination, mindfulness, and play.

VBA 2017“This is a really exciting year for women writers in Vermont. Seven of the eight finalists are women who come from all corners of the state,” said Kathryn Roberts, the Vermont Book Award fellow. 

The Vermont Book Award is a $5,000 literary prize created by VCFA to celebrate the literature of Vermont. In order to be nominated, the book must be a work of outstanding literary merit by a Vermont writer and published in the prior year.

“If ever there was a year to read every book on the list, it’s this year. These books shine in their brilliance across all the genres. Our finalists are all from Vermont, but these books have a global reach,” said Miciah Bay Gault, coordinator of the Vermont Book Award and Director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing at VCFA. 

Eight judges read through more than 40 Vermont Book Award nominees to choose the finalists. This year’s judges, each with expertise in one of the four genres, are Emily Bernard, Amanda Coplin, Chard deNiord, Grace Greene, Beth McCabe, Kerrin McCadden, Janice Obuchowski, and Tanya Lee Stone.

The winner of the 2017 prize will be revealed at the Vermont Book Award Gala, an awards ceremony to be held at VCFA on Sept. 23, 2017. The Gala will feature readings by the finalists, hors d’oeuvres by Sugarsnap Catering, and music by Kat Wright. Tickets for this event are currently on sale for $45 per person and may be purchased here

Congratulations to all the finalists!