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Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 03/ 2/2011

PEN/Faulkner Names Fiction Finalists

By Jacqueline Trescott

The five finalists for the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction were announced Wednesday, with Jennifer Egan, Deborah Eisenberg, Jaimy Gordon, Eric Puchner and Brad Watson making the coveted list.

The judges for what the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, headquartered at the Folger Shakespeare Library, calls the country's "largest peer-juried prize for fiction" combed through 320 novels and short story collections.

"A Visit From the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan follows the adventures of a failing record producer and his assistant from 1979 through a futuristic 2020. "The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg" is a compilation of four volumes of her work, known for its revelatory dialogue.

"Lord of Misrule" by Jaimy Gordon is set in a down-and-out racetrack with the troubled inhabitants of that world. The novel won the National Book Award this year. "Model Home," by Eric Puchner is a first novel following the downfall of a family that moves from Wisconsin to the outskirts of Los Angeles.

"Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives," by Brad Watson is a collection of 12 stories with plots that are described as brutal and delivered with humor and restraint.

The winner, who receives $15,000, will be announced March 15.

The four finalists each gets $5,000 and all will be honored at a ceremony May 7.

By Jacqueline Trescott  | March 2, 2011; 12:20 PM ET
Categories:  Books, Jacqueline Trescott, Local Arts and Culture  | Tags:  Brad Watson, Deborah Eisenberg, Eric Puchner, Jaimy Gordon, Jennifer Egan, PEN/Faulkner, PEN/Faulkner fiction finalists, writing awards  
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