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“Lindsey Drager’s wonderfully innovative novel, The Archive of Alternate Endings, takes its readers on an elliptical, speculative, philosophically intrepid journey that tracks the evolution of the old folktale, Hansel and Gretel, between 1378 and 2365, even as it redefines and revises our sense of what narrative itself can achieve,” writes the Bard Fiction Prize committee. “As Halley’s Comet revisits the Earth every seventy-five years, like some cosmic metronome, we encounter the siblings Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Johannes Gutenberg and his sister, and twin space probes searching the galaxy for a sister planet to our own. As we do, we witness the many ways in which Hansel and Gretel themselves are transformed along with the human experience their tale portrays. Intimate in its understanding of the multiplicities of love, here is an elegantly succinct work of art that is flat-out epic in scope. And while one may look to Borges, Calvino, Winterson, even the Terrence Malik of Tree of Life for comparison, Drager’s vision is breathtakingly original and The Archive of Alternate Endings displays the confident technique and wild inventiveness of an already accomplished literary artist emerging into virtuosity.”
“I am so very, very grateful for the opportunity to spend a semester engaging with the literary community at Bard. It is a privilege to be listed among the extraordinary novelists and short story writers honored with this prize in the past,” said Drager. “For me, much of writing is about ongoing, long-term self-doubt, so support and recognition like this is simply invaluable. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Bard Fiction Prize committee for seeing something in this strange book.”
Lindsey Drager is the author of three novels: The Sorrow Proper (Dzanc 2015), The Lost Daughter Collective (Dzanc 2017), and The Archive of Alternate Endings (Dzanc 2019). Her books have won a John Gardner Fiction Award and a Shirley Jackson Award; been listed as a “Best Book of the Year” in The Guardian and NPR; and twice been named a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. A Spanish language edition of her second book was published this year in Spain, and an Italian edition of The Archive of Alternate Endings is forthcoming. A 2020 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient in Prose, she is currently the associate fiction editor of the literary journal West Branch and an assistant professor in the creative writing program at the University of Utah.
The creation of the Bard Fiction Prize, presented each October since 2001, continues Bard’s long-standing position as a center for creative, groundbreaking literary work by both faculty and students. From Saul Bellow, William Gaddis, Mary McCarthy, and Ralph Ellison to John Ashbery, Philip Roth, William Weaver, and Chinua Achebe, Bard’s literature faculty, past and present, represents some of the most important writers of our time. The prize is intended to encourage and support young writers of fiction, and provide them with an opportunity to work in a fertile intellectual environment. Last year’s Bard Fiction Prize was awarded to Akil Kumarasamy for her debut story collection, Half Gods (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2018).
Conjunctions:77, States of Play Features New Work from Ranjit Hoskote, David Shields, Nam Le, Joyce Carol Oates, Arthur Sze, Nathaniel Mackey, Shelley Jackson, Charles Bernstein, Tracie Morris, and Many Others“The invitation to join in games,” proposes Conjunctions editor Bradford Morrow, “be they fun word games or lethal war games, games of chance or games of dexterity, umpired games or games in which the rules morph and cheaters prevail—is one we face, however joyfully, however subtly, however violently, every day of our lives.” Conjunctions:77, States of Play—the latest issue of the innovative literary magazine published by Bard College, which is now celebrating its Fortieth Anniversary of continuous publication—gathers fiction, poetry, essays, and genre-bending work from writers who are willing, through their writing, to invoke one of the oldest, most audacious questions one mortal can put to another: “Do you want to play a game?” Edited by novelist and Bard literature professor Morrow, States of Play features a collection of poems by celebrated Indian poet Ranjit Hoskote, a short story by international bestseller David Shields, poems by PEN/Malamud Award winner Nam Le, a new short story by Jerusalem Prize winner Joyce Carol Oates, new poems from National Book Award winner Arthur Sze, a new series of genre-bending work from cross-genre experimental writer Shelley Jackson, a new poem from National Book Award and Bollingen Prize winner Nathaniel Mackey, and a collaborative duet between Charles Bernstein and Tracie Morris, two of the most revered voices in American poetry.
Sometimes we’re compelled to play whether we want to or not. Now and then we end up playing solitaire. But even when we are sidelined and have no clear way to participate, the games go on without us and as often as not affect us in ways difficult to predict or define. Writes Morrow, “For those looking for fun and games in States of Play, be warned that the losses pile up as fast as the wins.”
Additional contributors to States of Play include Joanna Scott, John Darcy, Heather Altfeld, Kyoko Mori, James Morrow, Catherine Imbriglio, Pierre Reverdy, Robin Hemley, Anelise Chen, S. P. Tenhoff, Lowry Pressly, Cole Swensen, Rae Armantrout, Lucas Southworth, Kelsey Peterson, John Dimitroff, Alyssa Pelish, Tim Raymond, Justin Noga, Brian Evenson, and Kate Colby.
The Washington Post says, “Conjunctions offers a showplace for some of the most exciting and demanding writers now at work.”
Edited by Bradford Morrow and published twice yearly by Bard College, Conjunctions publishes innovative fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction by emerging voices and contemporary masters. For four decades, Conjunctions has challenged accepted forms and styles, with equal emphasis on groundbreaking experimentation and rigorous execution. In 2020, Conjunctions received the prestigious Whiting Literary Magazine Prize. The judges noted, “Every issue of Conjunctions is a feat of curatorial invention, continuing the Modernist project of dense, economical writing, formal innovation, and an openness to history and the world.” Named a “Top Literary Magazine 2019” by Reedsy, the journal was a finalist for the 2018, 2019, and 2021 ASME Award for Fiction and the 2018 CLMP Firecracker Award for General Excellence. In addition, contributions to recent issues have been selected for The Best American Essays (2018, 2019), The Pushcart Prize XLIV: Best of the Small Presses, Best American Experimental Writing 2020, Best Small Fictions 2019, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2019, and The Best American Short Stories 2021.
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