Celebrating New American Voices

America is a land of immigrants, where we derive the richness of our culture from the contributions that have been made by the blend of peoples who have made this nation their home. Historically, though, American writing and publishing has reflected an underrepresentation of the work of immigrants.

To address this, Fall for the Book and Mason’s Institute for Immigration Research have created the New American Voices Award, which recognizes recently published books of literary fiction or creative non-fiction from immigrant writers. The award aims to celebrate the complexity of human experience as told by these writers. To be eligible, the writers must have published no more than three books, only one of which from a Top 5 publisher. 

The inaugural presentation of the award will be in October 2018, during the 20th anniversary of the Fall for the Book festival. 

The judges for the competition include award-winning Nigerian writer and Mason faculty member Helon Habila; Canadian writer Madeleine Thien, whose parents are Chinese; and Ethiopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste. In selecting his fellow judges, Habila notes, “as immigrants themselves, they know how important immigrant literature is in redefining and re-conceptualizing a nation's image of itself.”

The panel will select three finalists from among submitted entries; all three finalists and the judges will appear at the 2018 Fall for the Book festival, October 10-13, to read from and discuss their work. The winning writer will receive $5,000 and the two finalists each will receive $1,000. 

Fall for the Book is Northern Virginia’s oldest literary festival and the Institute for Immigration Research is a joint venture between George Mason University and the Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. (ILC) of Malden, MA.