Announcing the 2013 Believer Book and Poetry Award Winners

The Believer is proud to announce the recipients of our 2013 Book and Poetry awards! So proud, in fact, that we’ve decided to share the winners here on the Believer Logger ahead of our May issue’s official release.

THE 2013 BELIEVER BOOK AWARD

For the past ten years, the editors of the Believer have awarded one title with the Believer Book Award, which we hope will draw attention to the strongest and most underappreciated work of the year. Past winners include Tamara Faith Berger’s Maidenhead, Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station, and Percival Everett’s I am Not Sidney Poitier. This year’s shortlist for the Believer Book Award, announced in our March/April issue, included Long Division by Kiese Laymon, Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee, Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel, Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway, and A Questionable Shape by Bennett Sims.

The winner of the 2013 Believer Book Award is Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee.

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From the magazine:
“Each of Lee’s stories is a pit with unknown depths. The stories unfold in a place where privilege and emergency are riskily close. Lee punctuates her carefully crafted stories with humor, which darkly reminds us that we are all clueless individuals trying to pull a fast one on our inevitable mortality. The stories cling like crazy and resurface in leitmotifs and whiffs. Somehow, it feels like they’ve gotten away with murder.”


THE 2013 BELIEVER POETRY AWARD

Now in its fourth year, the Believer Poetry Award seeks to support poetry books that the magazine’s editors find to be the finest and most deserving of greater recognition. The past three winners were Romey’s Order by Atsuro Riley (2010); The Trees The Trees by Heather Christle (2011), and The Hartford Book by Samuel Amadon (2012). This year’s poetry award shortlist included To Anacreon in Heaven and Other Poems by Graham Foust, It Becomes You by Dobby Gibson, I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough to Make Us Beautiful Together by Mira Gonzalez, Bough Down by Karen Green, and The Forage House by Tess Taylor.

The winner of the 2013 Believer Poetry Award is Bough Down by Karen Green.

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From the magazine:
“Karen Green’s raw, elegant first book—a mixture of verse paragraphs, images of miniature mixed-media collages (Green is also a visual artist), and blank pages—is a moving portrait of love, marriage, the untimely death of a spouse, the poet’s ensuing grief, and the marriage that still, somehow, remains. One of the most intimate and effective extended elegies to be published in recent years (joining such notable works as Anne Carson’s Nox and Rebecca Lindenberg’s Love, an Index), Bough Down is also a brilliant case study in psycho-emotional realism: in this case, the way that psychological rupture affects the very experience of experience, and the role of language in finding one’s way back to normalcy… At all junctures, Green’s writing shows life exceeding expectations—exceeding sense—because it exceeds thought. Bough Down is a breathtaking achievement.”

For more on the Believer Book and Poetry Awards, including extended thoughts from the Believer's editors and excerpts from Bobcat and Other Stories and Bough Down, check out the May issue of the Believer, hitting newsstands and mailboxes next month.