Ottessa Moshfegh’s Eileen wins the PEN/Hemingway Award

Ottessa Moshfegh’s Eileen has won the 40th PEN/Hemingway Award – America’s most prestigious award for a first novel. Previous winners include Marilynne Robinson, Jhumpa Lahiri, Teju Cole and Kevin Powers.

The judges – authors Joshua Ferris, Alexandra Marshall and Jay Parini – praised Ottessa Moshfegh for her ‘prowess and promise’. She will be awarded the $25,000 dollar prize at a ceremony in Boston on April 10th.

She was awarded the Plimpton Prize for her stories in the Paris Review and has won the Fence Modern Prize in Prose and the Believer Book Award. Eileen is also shortlisted for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, and film rights were bought by Scott Rudin – producer of No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. Jonathan Cape will be publishing her first collection of stories, Homesick for Another World, in January 2017.

Praise for Eileen

‘Ottessa Moshfegh has created one of the great characters of recent fiction. Eileen is a modern masterpiece: cruel, grotesquely beautiful and merciless as a hungry wolf finding a lost fawn in the snow.’
John Burnside

‘An unforgettable new American voice.’
Los Angeles Times

‘If Jim Thompson had married Patricia Highsmith – imagine that household – they might have conspired together to dream up something like Eileen. It’s blacker than black and cold as an icicle. It’s also brilliantly realised and horribly funny.’
John Banville

‘A remarkable piece of writing… Trust me, you have never read anything remotely like Eileen.’
Washington Post

‘A sucker punch of a novel, full of fury and disgust, heart-wrenching in places, a masterclass in mood and tone.’
Julie Myerson

‘A seductive novel… Moshfegh writes beautiful sentences. One after the other they unwind – playful, shocking, wise, morbid, witty, searingly sharp. The beginning of this novel is so impressive, so controlled yet whimsical, fresh and thrilling, you feel she can do anything.’
New York Times

‘A taut psychological thriller, rippled with comedy as black as a raven’s wing. Eileen is effortlessly stylish and compelling.’
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, The Times

‘Excellent…a taut, well-written, and completely engrossing novel…culminating in a dynamite ending.’
Boston Globe

‘Moshfegh is a writer of significant control and range…. What distinguishes her writing is that unnameable quality that makes a new writer’s voice, against all odds and the deadening surround of lyrical postures, sound unique.’
Jeffrey Eugenides

‘Perverse, squalid and sinister, this expertly paced novel delivers a thumping finish to match the build-up: a single line near the end has the effect of a thunderbolt, leaving us dumbstruck by her sly, almost wicked storytelling genius.’
Anthony Cummins, Daily Telegraph

‘Mesmerizing…A masterly psychological drama.’

‘Captivating…a writer of rare talent.’
William Skidelsky, Financial Times


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