Yvette Christiansë, Ph.D., associate professor of English and comparative literature, Fordham College at Rose Hill, was chosen runner-up in the 2007 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction, PEN New England announced.
Christiansë’s novel, Unconfessed (Other Press, 2006) tells the story of a South African woman born into slavery and of the abuses she faced. The annual award and cash prize is a coveted achievement for new writers of fiction. As runner-up, Christiansë receives a residency at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, a renowned writer’s and artists’ retreat. Christiansë is currently doing a promotional book tour that included an appearance on The Tavis Smiley Show on PBS.
“PEN International provided a safe place for writers of all races to meet and discuss their work and ideas under apartheid,” said Christiansë. “It is therefore an enormous honor to receive this recognition, and to know that this story about the predicament of not just one woman, but of enslaved women in South Africa’s history has found an ear. It is sometimes the work of fiction to bridge a gap between what is unspoken or inaudible and what might ail even our present. In my classes on African disaporic literatures, I try to encourage students to develop an ear to such things.”