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Lori Ostlund


Lori Ostlund’s novel After the Parade (Scribner, 2015) was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and was a Barnes and Noble Discover pick. Her story collection, The Bigness of the World, won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Stories from it appeared in the Best American Short Stories and the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. Lori was a 2009 RJF Award recipient and a finalist for the 2017 Simpson Family Literary Prize. She is completing her third book.

The Value of Support

"I received my RJF Award in 2009, the year that my story collection was published as a recipient of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction; suddenly, I had an agent and an increasing sense of urgency about finishing my novel. At the same time, I was working various adjunct jobs in order to make ends meet and felt as if each one was moving me farther away from that goal. Allowed me to cut back on my teaching load for several semesters, and it was during this period that I wrote a significant portion of my novel because—away from the mad scramble of adjunct life—I was able to hold the whole book in my head, a luxury for novelists.

Over the years I have become friends with numerous RJF recipients, including a woman who received the award the same year I did and who became a friend and, when I moved to Chapel Hill for two years as a visiting writer, a source of support and community connection. Nearly each year that I attend the AWP conference, I have dinner with other recipients, all of us bound by the honor of having received this award."

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