Writer-in-residence wins prestigious literary prize

Bob Shacochis

Florida State University Creative Writing Program writer-in-residence Bob Shacochis has received one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards — the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for fiction — for his 2013 novel “The Woman Who Lost Her Soul” (Grove Atlantic).

The prize, given annually since 2006 for fiction and nonfiction, is the first and only U.S. literary award to recognize the power of the written word to promote peace, social justice and global understanding. The prize comes with a $10,000 honorarium.

Shacochis and nonfiction recipient Karima Bennoune will be honored during the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize awards ceremony Sunday, Nov. 9, at the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio.

“Whether in the classroom or on the page, Bob Shacochis continues to astonish with his insight, talent and dedication,” said James Kimbrell, associate professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program. “‘The Woman Who Lost Her Soul’ weighs in at over 700 pages, but there’s a hardly a sentence there that couldn’t be dropped in a short lyric poem without missing a beat, which is to say that his language is rich, musical and always headed for unexpected destinations.”


In “The Woman Who Lost Her Soul,” Shacochis sweeps through four countries over a span of 50 years and multiple wars, unraveling tangled knots of romance, espionage and vengeance while tracing the coming of age of pre-9/11 America. He creates an intricate portrait of the catastrophic events that have led to an endless cycle of vengeance and war between cultures.

Shacochis specializes in fiction and non-fiction. His first collection of stories, “Easy in the Islands,” won the National Book Award for First Fiction in 1985, and his second collection, “The Next New World,” was awarded the Prix de Rome from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1989. His book “The Immaculate Invasion,” a chronicle of the 1994 military intervention in Haiti, was a finalist for The New Yorker Magazine Award for best nonfiction of 1999. His book “Swimming in the Volcano” was a 1993 National Book Award Finalist. Shacochis has been the recipient of a James Michener Fellowship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.