The 30th annual James Jones First Novel Fellowship has been awarded to Rose Whitmore for her novel-in-progress, Feats of Strength in the Time of Hoxha. Michael Hawley, for Galla Placidia, and Alice Hawari, for History of Paradise, were named runners-up.
A record number of more than 700 entries were submitted this year. The awards are co-sponsored by the James Jones Literary Society and the Maslow Family Graduate Program in Creative Writing of Wilkes University.
Whitmore will receive $10,000 and the two runners-up $1,000 each.
Whitmore is the recipient of the Peden Prize from The Missouri Review, a work-study scholarship from the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, and a residency from Hedgebrook. A former Wallace Stegner fellow in fiction, she is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford. Her writing has recently appeared in The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, Image, and Alaska Quarterly Review.
Feats of Strength in the Time of Hoxha follows five characters searching for redemption and freedom in post-World War II Albania.
Hawley has had short stories published in Boston Review, Cimarron Review, The New Yorker, One Story, Post Road Magazine, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review and elsewhere. He received a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to attend Sewanee Writers’ Conference in 2018, and was awarded a three-month residency at The Kerouac Project in Orlando in 2008. He lives in New York City.
Galla Placidia, the first of Hawley’s envisioned trilogy, opens when 17-year-old Galla Placidia (a historical figure from the fifth century who later becomes empress of the Western Roman Empire) is sent to Rome to escape potential violence from a palace coup.
Hawari was born and raised in Southern California. Her husband and three young sons fill her life with knock-knock jokes and games of hide-and-seek. She writes in the early mornings, then works as a marketer during the day.
History of Paradise, Hawari’s first novel centers on a young Korean woman in 1931 Hawaii, a daughter of sugar plantation laborers, who grows to be a voice for the ethnic labor class.