Patricia Engel has won the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, given each year “to a talented American writer who experiments with form, explores a range of voices and merits further recognition.”
Longwood University, which administers the award, made the announcement in a news release. Engel was selected for the prize from a shortlist that included Achy Obejas, Brandon Hobson, and Margaret Wilkerson Sexton.
She is also the author of the novels The Veins of the Ocean and Infinite Country. Her most recent book, the story collection The Faraway World, was published in January; in a starred review, a Kirkus critic wrote, “Engel’s multinational update of dirty realism is full of ironic flair, imagination, and empathy.”
John Miller, chair of the prize jury, said in a statement, “Much like the prize’s namesake, Patricia Engel illuminates those dimensions of the human experience that often go unnoticed and unsung. Simultaneously, she imagines America on a scale broader than its national boundaries.”
The Dos Passos Prize, named after the author of the U.S.A. trilogy of novels, was first awarded in 1980. Previous winners include John Edgar Wideman, Maxine Hong Kingston, Percival Everett, and Carolina De Robertis.
Michael Schaub is a contributing writer.