About a month ago, Sean Carswell’s “Publishing House” class met to decide who the winner of the Molly Ivors Prize for Fiction would be. Prior to the class, we narrowed the submissions down to a top 10, then a top 4. The discussion took hours. Students made impassioned pleas for Ben Nadler’s The Book Peddler, Chelsea Lemon Fetzer’s Rivermaps, and Yu-Han Chao’s Sex and Taipei City. At different points of the discussion, it felt like any of the top four could end up winning. We settled matters democratically. One manuscript received the most votes. And now we can announce it officially.
The winner of the 2014 Molly Ivors Prize for fiction is… The Pocket Guide to Divorce by Neil Connelly (pictured right). It’s a self-help work of fiction following a young man on the edge of the new millennium trying to write a guide to divorce but unable to keep his own divorce story from taking over. It’s an original and witty text. It’s a bit different from what we’ve published in the past, but Gorsky has always been more about the quality of the books we publish than any abstract aesthetic. It’ll be a welcome addition to our roster.
In the time between the selection of a winner and the announcement, we’ve been hard at work. All the contestants (hopefully) have been notified personally of the results. The class has made editorial selections. Neil has edited the manuscript according to the suggestions of the class. A cover is being designed. All of the other publishing wheels are rolling. The book will hit the shelves sometime in September.
Before all that happens, we want to thank everyone who submitted to the contest and made this such a hard decision. And, in case you’re wondering who made the top ten, they were (in no particular order):
Neil Connelly, The Pocket Guide to Divorce
Chelsea Lemon Fetzer, Rivermaps
Yu-Han Chao, Sex and Taipei City
Ben Nadler, The Book Peddler
Mark Jabaut, Zinnea
Richard Martin, Oranges for Magellan
Roberta Gates, Night Belongs to the Enemy
Janet Bohac, Love Like Land
April L. Ford, Gentle: A Novel
Michael A. Kiggins, And the Train Kept Moving