Karen Joy Fowler wins PEN/Faulkner Award

The PEN/Faulkner association has announced that We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves has won the 2014 PEN/Faulkner award for Best Novel.

That’s quite an honor for Fowler. The PEN/Faulkner is one of the biggest literary fiction awards of the year, along with the Pulitzer, National Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award. This win means that Fowler is going to be a force to reckon with on the literary fiction award circuit this year.

What does this mean for the Nebula, though? No Nebula book nominee has ever won an award like this. Does this make Fowler a frontrunner? Or does her acceptance by the lit fic world mean that the novel isn’t SF? Will Nebula voters feel that since Fowler has already been rewarded with a major award, she doesn’t need the Nebula? Or will they bandwagon to show that the Nebula is choosing “major” texts?

I’ll add the PEN/Faulkner to same year awards, and it will factor in the formula. I suspect that Fowler is in the same boat she was in before the award–highly regarded, but her vote will be split by people not finding her genre-y enough. If there were more obvious SF elements in Beside Ourselves, it would be a frontrunner. Since there’s discussion about its SFness, it falls behind Gaiman’s more obviously fantasy novel.


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