Winner & Finalists

Congratulations to Jensen Beach, winner of the third Vermont Book Award for his collection of short stories titled “Swallowed by the Cold.”

Beach received the award during the third annual Vermont Book Award Gala held at Vermont College of Fine Arts 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. 

2016’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 Cooper 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. He also teaches in VCFA’s MFA in Writing & Publishing program. 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. 


Miciah Bay Gault
Program Director, MFA in Writing & Publishing
Editor, Hunger Mountain

[email protected]

2017 Finalists

2016 Winner and Finalists

2015 Winner and Finalists

The Vermont Book Award is a new prize created to honor artists with deep connections to the state of Vermont and to draw attention to a state so uniquely suited for creative enterprise.

In keeping with our mission of promoting emerging and established artists, the Vermont Book Award will recognize outstanding poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and children’s literature that is penned by a Vermont writer or by a writer with deep ties to the state of Vermont.