~ By Jefferson Beavers, reprinted from FresnoStateNews.com
Author Randa Jarrar, a Fresno State associate professor of English, won The Story Prize Spotlight Award for the best short story collection published in 2016. Jarrar’s latest book, “Him, Me, Muhammad Ali,” was published by Sarabande Books.
The award, which honors works that demonstrate “an unusual perspective on the writer’s craft,” includes a $1,000 prize.
The Story Prize judges praised Jarrar’s collection for its outsider characters, saying: “Her storytelling skills and empathy for her characters – who are often Arab Americans – shine through.”
From the Sarabande Books press release: Randa Jarrar is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, essayist, and translator. She grew up in Kuwait and Egypt, and moved to the U.S. after the first Gulf War. Her novel “A Map of Home,” was published in six languages and won a Hopwood Award, an Arab-American Book Award, and was named one of the best novels of 2008 by the Barnes & Noble Review.
Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Utne Reader, Salon.com, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Oxford American, Ploughshares, Five Chapters, and other venues. She’s received fellowships and residencies from the Lannan Foundation at Marfa, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Hedgebrook, Caravansarai, and Eastern Frontier. In 2010, the Hay Festival and Beirut UNESCO’s world capital of the book named Jarrar one of the most gifted writers of Arab origin under the age of 40.