By Gail Hairston
(Jan. 5, 2016) — PEN’s Literary Awards Committee has chosen Manuel Gonzales, assistant professor of English at the University of Kentucky, as a judge for the 2016 PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize. The PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize is an annual award that recognizes a promising young writer of an unpublished work of nonfiction that addresses a global and/or multicultural issue.
This prize is awarded to an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of 35, who has had at least one prior publication (articles, essays, op-eds) in a national magazine or journal. The manuscript submission must be an original, previously unpublished work of nonfiction (essay, memoir, general nonfiction, etc.), written by one person, in English, ranging in word length from 8,000 to 80,000.
Gonzales is the author of “The Miniature Wife and Other Stories” and the forthcoming novel, “The Regional Office Is Under Attack!” He teaches creative writing at UK and for the Institute of American Indian Arts, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He graduated with a bachelor’s in English from the University of Texas in 1996 and then with an MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Columbia University's School of the Arts in 2003. His fiction and nonfiction have been published in McSweeney's, Fence, Tin House, Open City, One Story, The Believer, i09.com, and various other publications. He is the recipient of the Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and the Binghamton University John Gardner Prize for Fiction.
Gonzales will be joined by two other successful authors who will judge the entries, Marie Arana, a writer at large for The Washington Post and a senior advisor to the U.S. Librarian of Congress, and Johnny Temple, publisher and editor in chief of Akashic Books, an award-winning Brooklyn-based independent company.