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WORD: Jon Clinch’s novel ‘Finn’ nominated for Sargent Prize

Jon Clinch, whose novel "Finn" garnered considerable buzz and sparkling reviews nationwide earlier this year, told WORD’N’BASS.com that his debut is among seven that were short-listed for the 2007 John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize. The Sargent Prize, created by the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction as part of its mission to promote the art of fiction in the United States, includes a $10,000 cash award.

"Finn," published by Random House, is a dark and mythic story about the iconic literary character Huckleberry Finn’s father. "The result is a deeply original book that springs from Twain’s classic novel but takes on a fully realized life of its own. ‘Finn’ sets a tragic figure loose in a landscape at once familiar and mythic," noted the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction in a press release.

Other nominees include "Lost City Radio" by Daniel Alarcon (HarperCollins), "The Ministry of Special Cases" by Nathan Englander (Knopf), "Soon I Will Be Invincible" by Austin Grossman (Pantheon), "Bearing the Body" by Ehud Havazelet (FSG), "Fieldwork" by Mischa Berlinski (FSG) and "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz (Riverhead/Penguin).

This year’s Sargent Prize will be presented on October 29 at The Mercantile Library Center for Fiction’s Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner at The Racquet & Tennis Club in New York City.

The Sargent Prize nominees are determined through a two-tiered process. Submissions are first read by librarians, staff, and members of the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction and the recommendations of these "common readers" are then forwarded to a committee of American writers.

This committee selects the seven novels on the short list and the winner. All full-length first novels written by American citizens or permanent residents and published in the United States between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007 were eligible for the 2007 Prize.

About the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction

Founded in 1820 and one of the oldest cultural institutions in New York City, in its eight-story building on East 47 Street it houses an outstanding 100,000 volume fiction collection and workspaces for writers of fiction and presents lectures, readings, discussion groups, seminars and writing workshops throughout the year. In addition to the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, The Mercantile Library will present two other awards at its October 29th dinner:

The Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction, which honors an editor, publisher, or agent who over the course of his or her career has discovered, nurtured, and championed writers of fiction will be presented to Drenka Willen of Harcourt.

The Clifton Fadiman Medal for Excellence in Fiction, which recognizes a work of fiction by a living American author who deserves recognition and a wider readership, will be presented by Cynthia Ozick to Lore Segal.


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