I get a nice review, but Agustín Maes gets Paris

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Dave Lull sent me a link for another review of my book, from Gregory Wolfe‘s Image journal:  “This year is the centenary of the poet and Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz’s birth. As a writer he is universally celebrated, but his life and work exist on such an epic scale that many of us are intimidated by the idea of actually clambering up those heights. So the publication of An Invisible Rope: Portraits of Czeslaw Milosz, edited by Cynthia L. Haven, is a welcome addition to the literature.”  The writer  concludes that although the book is not an introduction to the poet’s life and work, “it can be an excellent companion for the reader who decides to take the plunge and get to know a great man who lived through dark times and yet went on to become a witness to truth, goodness, and beauty.”

Covered with glory

Beneath the review I saw a familiar face:  San Francisco’s Agustín Maes was just named as one of two runners-up for the first-ever Paris Literary Prize, an international competition sponsored by legendary Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company in collaboration with the de Groot Foundation. Winner Rosa Rankin-Gee took the 10,000-euro prize, and Adam Biles was the fellow runner-up. Their work was chosen from over 430 novellas submitted from 34 countries.  The contest highlights the novella as a literary form and is open to writers who have not yet finished a book.  The winners were announced on 16 June during an award event held at the Société des Gens de Lettres in Paris – so Agustín got a trip to Paris.

Erica Wagner, jury chair and literary editor of The Times (London), wrote:

“Along with my fellow judges, I was dead certain that the author of one of the runners- up, Newborn—about a naïve teenage girl forced to deal with an unwanted pregnancy— must be by a young woman. I mean, obviously, right? Nope. Its author turned out to be Agustin Maes, an American man… The kind of imagination evidenced by a story such as his is a reminder of what a magic trick really fine writing can be. It is the writer’s job wholly to inhabit the characters he or she invents: a rare gift that few authors truly possess.”

Congratulations, Agustín!


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