The Gina Berriault Award was inaugurated by former SF State Professor Peter Orner in conjunction with Fourteen Hills Press to pay homage to the writer Gina Berriault, who taught at San Francisco State and who with every story embodied a certain selflessness and unflinching compassion. The award is given annually to a writer with a similar spirit who has shown a love for storytelling and a commitment to supporting emerging writers. Past recipients include Cristina García, Yiyun Li and Adam Johnson.
Bulawayo is the author of We Need New Names (May 2013) which has been recognized with the LA Times Book Prize Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the Pen/Hemingway Award, the Etisalat Prize for Literature, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award (second place), and the National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Fiction Selection. We Need New Names was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, and selected to the New York Times Notable Books of 2013 list, the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers list and others. Bulawayo’s story “Hitting Budapest” won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing. Bulawayo earned her Master of Fine Arts at Cornell University where she was a recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where she now teaches as a Jones Lecturer in Fiction. Bulawayo grew up in Zimbabwe.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome Ms. Bulawayo to our campus this spring,” said Carolina De Robertis, assistant professor of Creative Writing and chair of the Gina Berriault Award committee. “She is a blazing talent, and her fiction is truly extraordinary, not only for its aesthetic power, linguistic innovation, and indelible characters, but for the way it opens up our world and mirrors it back to us anew.”
The award includes a cash award of $1,000, and an on-campus celebration and reading by the honored writer. This year’s celebration will take place on Monday, April 9, 2018, at 7pm at The Poetry Center on the fifth floor of the Humanities Building. The event is free and open to the public, and all members of the SFSU community are warmly encouraged to attend. A question-and-answer session will follow the reading, and refreshments will be provided.
Photo by Nye’ Lyn Tho