As many of you will have seen, the winner of this year’s Crawford Award was announced this week. The book in question is Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, and it is one of the most remarkable debuts I have seen in a long time. Machado’s work has appeared in venues such as The New Yorker, Granta and Tin House. The collection was also a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award, the USA’s top literary award. You will guess from that that the stories are very literary, and you would be right, but they are also fascinating. I am seriously impressed.
However, I would also like to draw your attention to the short list which contains many more good books. Here it is:
- City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager)
- Winter Tide, Ruthanna Emrys (Tor.com Publishing)
- The Art of Starving, Sam J. Miller (HarperTeen)
- The Tiger’s Daughter, K. Arsenault Rivera (Tor)
- Spellhaven, Sandra Unerman (Mirror World)
I’d like to direct particular attention to The Tiger’s Daughter. The basic set-up is as follows: Shizuka is the heir to a fantasy version of imperial China; Shefali is the daughter of the queen of the nomadic Qorin; they are brought up together, fall in love, and together they fight demons. Rivera isn’t as accomplished a wordsmith as Machado, nor as off the wall, but this is a beautifully constructed novel and just the cutest lesbian warrior love story ever. I cried. I can’t wait for book two.
Both of these books have been recommended for the Tiptree, but the remit of the Crawford and Tiptree juries is very different and I have not said anything about the books’ treatment of gender.
Further details of the Crawford Award announcement are available from the IAFA website.