Professor Sigrid Nunez '75 and Alumna Rachel Kushner '01 Finalists for 2019 Simpson Family Literary Prize

BY Zoe Contros Kearl, March 11, 2019

Professor and alumna Sigrid Nunez '75 and alumna Rachel Kushner ‘01 have been named finalists for the 2019 Simpson Family Literary Prize.


The Simpson Family Literary Prize recognizes annually a mid-career writer who has earned a distinguished reputation and the approbation and gratitude of readers. The Prize Recipient receives a $50,000 award to encourage and support forthcoming work. There is an application process and an anonymous jury selects the recipient. The Prize is funded by generous individuals as well as some altruistic family foundations and corporate donors, and it is administered by the Simpson Project. The Shortlist Finalists were announced in early March, 2019 and will receive $2,000 for participating in the Literary Project, followed by a winner in early April. Recipients will give readings in the Bay Area in October, and participate in a two-week residence in Lafayette and Berkeley, California, during the Spring Semester 2020.


The Friend book coverSigrid Nunez has published seven novels, including A Feather on the Breath of God, The Last of Her Kind, Salvation City, and, most recently, The Friend, which won the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. Nunez's honors and awards include a Whiting Writer’s Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, and two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters: the Rosenthal Foundation Award and the Rome Prize in Literature. She lives in New York City.


The Mars Room book coverRachel Kushner is the author of The Mars Room, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Flamethrowers, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times Top Five Novel. Her debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book. A collection of her early work, The Strange Case of Rachel K, was published by New Directions in 2015. Kushner’s fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Paris Review. She is the recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2016 Harold D. Vursell Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.