Mia Alvar Wins 2016 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction

By Tim Cheng | April 13 2016 | Humanities & Social Sciences

Congratulations to Mia Alvar, who has won the 2016 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction for her short story collection In the Country. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, and now available as a Vintage paperback, In the Country is comprised of nine stories that give voice to the women and men of the Philippines and its diaspora and explore the universal experiences of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined. In their citation for the award, judges Helon Habila, Elizabeth McCracken, Edie Meidav, and Jess Row wrote, “It is rare to find a debut of such depth and breadth, work singing with the grace of a thousand doomed lifetimes compressed into stories both luminous and empathic, populated by memorable characters facing such keenly felt challenges.” Accompanied by a $25,000 cash prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction “honors an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose work—a first novel or collection of short stories—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise of a second work of literary fiction.”