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Mark Brazaitis Wins the 2012 Gival Press Novel Award

Mark Brazaitis of Morgantown, West Virginia has won the 8th Annual Gival Press Novel Award for his novel Julia & Rodrigo. Brazaitis will receive $3,000.00 and his novel will be published in 2013.

Photo by Sheila Loftus.

Biography: Mark Brazaitis is the author of four books of fiction, including The Incurables: Stories, winner of the 2012 Richard Sullivan Prize, from the University of Notre Dame Press. He is also the author of a book of poems, The Other Language, winner of the 2008 ABZ Poetry Prize. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and technical trainer, he directs the Creative Writing Program at West Virginia University.

Advance Praise: “This expressive, touching and at times wrenching novel tells the stories of two young people living in Guatemala during that country’s civil war. Teenagers Julia García and Rodrigo Rax meet at a school pageant and find that they are drawn to each other. Julia, the daughter of an engineer, lives in one of the few two-story houses in town. Rodrigo, who comes from less privilege, is a soccer star. But what begins as a love story soon becomes a struggle against circumstance. Julia and Rodrigo rise above old-fashioned customs of marriage and religious worship only to collide with events they cannot control. Ultimately, this finely crafted novel goes a long way toward answering the question of whether human free will can overcome fate, or God’s will.” —Thaddeus Rutkowski, final judge of the contest and author of Haywire, Tetched and Roughhouse

Finalists: Color a Crumbling Landscape by Michael McGuire of Jalisco, Mexico.

Naraka by Gopal Balachandran of Northampton, Massachusetts.

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