Winners of the 2002 AWP Award Series

The AWP Award Series in Creative Nonfiction

Winner: Mark Anderson
Jesus Sound Explosion, University of Georgia Press

Sue William Silverman, Judge: "Mark Anderson has magically brought together two only apparently opposing worlds—a passion for pop music and his boyhood as an evangelical preacher's son—in this winning memoir. What a beauty it is, by turns searching and hilarious. This is not just another coming-of-age story. Anderson 's eloquent and fresh reflection on the wild ride American culture—and the American family—has taken in the past quarter century introduces a welcome new voice."

Mark Anderson's writing has appeared in Spout, Nightbeat, Buzz, and the Minnesota Daily. He has clerked at The Electric Fetus Record Store, and drummed in Twin Cities bands including Oren Goby, Bad Trip, the Idlewilds, and the House of Mercy Band. He earned his MFA at the University of Minnesota, and he currently teaches writing at the University of Minnesota's General College. He lives in St. Paul.

The AWP Award Series in the Novel

There was no Novel Prize for the 2002 Competition

Thomas Dunne Novel Finalists:

Martin Taragano The Human Oven
Kelly Jennings A Biography of Light
Robert von Stein Redick Wilderness
Roger Sheffer Backtracking
Chris Bundy Plum Rains

The AWP Award Series in Poetry

Winner: Sandra Kohler
The Ceremonies of Longing, University of Pittsburgh Press

Cornelius Eady, Judge: "These poems hold a surprising stealth. . . . 'It's just life,' I kept telling myself as I read, but how I admire poets who can take the ordinary and then prove to us, through arresting lyric, that it's anything but."

Sandra Kohler did her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College and earned a PhD from Bryn Mawr College in 1971. She has taught literature and writing courses at levels ranging from elementary school to university and adult education. Her poems have appeared in many literary reviews including the New Republic, the Southern Review, West Branch, the Massachusetts Review, Calyx, 5 AM, the Hawaii Pacific Review, Sojourner, American Writing, the Ledge, Countermeasures, Prairie Schooner, the Tulane Review, the Gettysburg Review, and the American Poetry Review. She was a recipient of the Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry, awarded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, twice, in 1985 and 1990. Her first book of poems, The Country of Women, was published in 1995 by Calyx Books. She lives in rural Central Pennsylvania with her husband.

The AWP Award Series in Short Fiction

Winner: Joan Connor
History Lessons, University of Massahchrsetts Press

Frederick Busch, Judge: "This collection demonstrates an enormous linguistic gift, and a passion for the possibilities of language. The rhythms of each sentence are masterfully assured, right for the sound of the sentences around it, and faithful to the emotions and thoughts of the story. Sometimes the characters are presented realistically, sometimes as aspects of American prose, often as expressions of historical events and even linguistic behavior; but the people on these pages are never mere reflections of the writer’s cleverness or (remarkable) knowledge. Every story is different, every story is a voice. While the voices range in tone from stormy to reconciled, most are tinged with genuine humor. And literature is a fact of life in the world of these fictions: Charles Dickens speaks through one character while Branwell Bronte addresses us through another. Aspects of French surrealism, the passion of Spanish locutions, the Midwestern solidities abandoned by Dorothy of Oz, the Wolf Boy’s insights, and an Adam and Eve to rival Twain’s are among the values that speak in this book of voices. But language loved and laid siege to remains the primary speaker throughout. The writer of this book is vastly talented and hungry to tell us stories. History Lessons is a sizzling debut."

Joan Connor is an Associate Professor at Ohio University, and a member of the faculty at the University of Southern Maine's low-residency MFA program. She has published two collections of short stories, Here on Old Route 7 and We Who Live Apart, with the University of Missouri Press. A recipient of an Ohio State Arts Council fellowship, she has published in journals such as the Southern Review, the Kenyon Review, the Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, Manoa, and the North American Review. She lives in Athens, Ohio, and Belmont, Vermont, with her son Kerry.

List of Winners

The Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction are made possible by the generous support of:

Amazon Logo

See a list of previous AWP Award Series winners.