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WORD: Sherman Alexie wins PEN/Faulkner award
Seattle author Sherman Alexie won the 2010 PEN/Faulkner award for fiction for his short story collection "War Dances" (Grove Presss), the foundation announced Tuesday. Alexie, who authored four novels and three short story collections prior to War Dances, beat out finalists Barbara Kingsolver, Lorraine Lopez and Lorrie Moore to bag the top award and $15,000.

War Dances is a collection of structurally inventive pieces on the themes of love, betrayal, familial relationships, race and class, the foundation noted in a press release. The stories are interspersed with poems that refract their themes or topics.
"War Dances taps every vein and nerve, every tissue, every issue that quickens the current blood-pulse," said one of the judges Al Young. He noted the book evoked, "All the heartbreaking ways we don’t live now -- this is the caring, eye-opening beauty of this rollicking, bittersweet gem of a book."
Though Alexie might have been an underdog going against the highly touted Kingsolver, readers shouldn’t be surprised at Alexie's win because the foundation leaked a strong hint last week.

That's when word started circulating that Alexie would join literary superstars Toni Morrison and Salman Rushdie at the sixth annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature in NYC. The festival, which runs from April 26 to May 2, features readings and panel discussions.
The PEN/Faulkner is just the latest major award for Alexie, whose star is rapidly rising. Back in 2007 he won the National Book Award for young people’s literature for his book "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," published by Little, Brown.
Click here for more information about the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.


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