The Aspen Institute:
Aspen Words will confer the inaugural $35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize this year, recognizing a work of fiction with social impact. Twenty nominees are still in the running, and the diverse list includes 12 novels and eight short story collections covering a variety of critical issues and published by an array of presses. While the jury works on narrowing this list down to five finalists and a winner, Aspen Words chatted with the nominees about their work, the importance of fiction in understanding contemporary issues, and the books that have influenced them most.
Cuban-American writer and translator Achy Obejas’ short story collection, The Tower of the Antilles, is centered on characters trying to make sense of the Cuba they left (or decided not to leave). Obejas has also written Ruins, Days of Awe, and three other works of fiction.