Moshfegh, Ottessa

M2016 is the 40th year the PEN/Hemingway Award has been bestowed on an American writer for his or her novel or anthology of short stories. This honoree must not have previously published a full-length work. Past honorees have included Jhumpa Lahiri, Bobbie Ann Mason, Justin Cronin, Ben Fountain, and many others of note. This year’s award winner is Ottessa Moshfegh for her novel entitled Eileen. Ms. Moshfegh‘s works have been in The New Yorker and The Paris Review. She also won the Plimpton Prize from The Paris Review, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The winner wins $25,000, plus $5,000 from the Distinguished Visiting Writers Series at the University of Idaho’s MFA Creative Writing Program. The winner also gets a Residency Fellowship at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, a retreat for artists and writers.

This award was founded in 1976 by Mary Hemingway, EMH’s wife when he died, as a way to celebrate EMH’s legacy.


–PEN/Hemingway award winner Ottessa Moshfegh

Ms. Moshfegh was born in Boston of a Croation mother and Iranian father. She attended Barnard College and received a Bachelor of Arts degree and then graduated from Brown University with a Masters of Fine Arts.

eileen cover

Eileen is a noir book about one winter when the narrator was 24. At the time of the telling, the narrator, Eileen, is now 74. The book was published in 2015 by Penguin Press. From the publisher:

A lonely young woman working in a boys’ prison outside Boston in the early 60s is pulled into a very strange crime, in a mordant, harrowing story of obsession and suspense, by one of the brightest new voices in fiction.

  6 comments for “Moshfegh, Ottessa

  1. April 15, 2016 at 3:45 PM

    Wow, such a great description. Seems to be a book after my own heart. And such a talented writer. Thank you, Denise.

    • April 15, 2016 at 4:24 PM

      Mine, too, Silvia! I like a little noir every now and then!

  2. April 16, 2016 at 12:35 AM

    Great post, Denise! Loving your posts 🙂

    • April 16, 2016 at 8:23 AM

      Thanks so much, sudhanair. Thankful for tomorrow’s day off, though!

  3. hilarymb
    April 16, 2016 at 1:55 AM

    Hi Denise – sounds a wonderful book – and she’s obviously very clever with the Fine Arts Degree .. well worth noting to read later … it’s going on my TBR list … cheers Hilary

    • April 16, 2016 at 8:22 AM

      Yes, I really want to read Eileen, too, but it might have to wait awhile . . . Cheers to you, Hilary. D

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