Beach received the award during the third annual Vermont Book Award Gala held at VCFA’s Alumnx Hall on Saturday, Sept. 23.
The intricate, interlocking stories of Beach’s extraordinarily poised story collection take place in a Swedish village along the Baltic Sea and in Stockholm over the course of two eventful years. The Vermont Book Award judges felt that Swallowed by the Cold created a world they wanted to return to again and again, and it lived on in them long after they’d finished reading.
Last year’s Vermont Book Award winner Major Jackson and VCFA President Thomas Christopher Greene presented Beach with the award, which was designed by local woodworker Jesse Copper and included a $5,000 prize.
Beach, a Jericho resident, is an assistant professor at Johnson State College’s Writing & Literature BFA program, where he is also fiction editor at Green Mountains Review. Beach’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Paris Review and The New Yorker. He previously published a collection of short stories titled For Out of the Heart Proceed.
The Vermont Book Award was created to honor a state uniquely suited for creative enterprise. Eight judges chose Beach from among seven other authors and poets, which included Melanie Finn, Margot Harrison, Robin MacArthur, Angela Palm, Elizabeth A.I. Powell, Alison Prine, and Mary Ruefle.
The Gala highlighted Vermont’s extraordinary creative community and featured many notable Vermont writers and artists. More than 200 guests attended the event, which included a live concert by Kat Wright and hors d’oeuvres by Sugarsnap Catering.
Photograph: 2017 Vermont Book Award winner Jensen Beach (center) stands alongside 2016 Vermont Book Award winner Major Jackson (left) and VCFA President Thomas Christopher Greene (right). (Photo by Anthony Pagani.)