A debut novel by Atticus Lish, “Preparation for the Next Life,” has won the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The award, given to the best work of fiction by an American writer, will bring Lish $15,000 from the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, a nonprofit literary organization.
Finalists for the award, receiving $5,000 each, are “Song of the Shank” by Jeffery Renard Allen, “Prayers for the Stolen” by Jennifer Clement, “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel and “Dept. of Speculation” by Jenny Offill.
“Preparation for the Next Life” is a dark love story about the relationship between an Iraq War veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder and a Chinese Muslim immigrant who works in a Flushing, Queens, restaurant. It was published by Tyrant Books, a tiny, independent New York press.
Lish, who spent five years writing the novel, is the son of Gordon Lish, a celebrated literary editor who worked with Raymond Carver, among others.
Lish and the finalists will be honored in a ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., on May 2. Past winners include Karen Joy Fowler, Sheman Alexie, Philip Roth and Ann Patchett.