Congratulations to Shawn Vestal, staff writer and columnist at The Spokesman-Review — and a former colleague of mine. Vestal's short story collection "Godforsaken Idaho" has been named to the shortlist of the PEN Literary Awards. Vestal's collection is one of the five finalists in contention for the 2014 Robert W. Bingham Prize, an award for a debut work of fiction that carries with it a $25,000 reward.
Here are some of the comments made about Vestal's story collection:
From Kirkus: "A provocative and revelatory debut, filled with stories about losing faith and trying (often in vain) to find purpose, mainly set amid the sparsely populated Mormon country of the rugged Northwest."
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: " 'Godforsaken Idaho' is a rewarding introduction to a new author."
From Oprah.com: " 'Godforsaken Idaho' (New Harvest), Shawn Vestal's slam-dunk debut, casts a cinematic shadow on the American West."
You can see the entire list by clicking here.