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October 2017
144 pages  

5 1/2 x 8 1/2
9780822945192
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The Islands
Six Fictions
Wall, William
WINNER OF THE 2017 DRUE HEINZ LITERATURE PRIZE
Selected by David Gates

William Wall is the first international winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize.

In this collection of interconnected stories, the beautiful and ravaging forces of sea and land collide with the forces of human nature, through isolation and family, love and loss, madness and revelation. The stories follow the lives of two sisters and the people who come and go in their lives, much like the tides. Dominated by the tragic loss of a third sister at a young age, their family spirals out of control. We witness three stages of the sisters’ lives, each taking place on an island—in southwest Ireland, southern England, and the Bay of Naples. Beautifully and sparsely written, the stories in The Islands deeply evoke landscape and character, and are suffused with a keen eye for detail and metaphor.
William Wall is the author of four novels, three collections of poetry, and two previous volumes of short fiction. His work has won many prizes, including the Virginia Faulkner Award, the Patrick Kavanagh Award, and the Sean O’Faolain Prize. He has been short- or longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Irish Book Awards, the Raymond Carver Prize, and the Manchester Fiction Prize, among others. His work has been translated into many languages, and he translates from Italian.
The Islands is evocative, moving, yet tough-minded, written with marvelous style and authority. After just the first few sentences, we trust absolutely that this writer is in control and knows what he’s doing. The narratives move expeditiously, even when they’re thick with description, and the characters’ voices are distinct and convincing. It was a pleasure to read.”—David Gates, judge

“William Wall is a tremendous writer, and The Islands is a beautiful collection. In a noisy age of information, these stories, written with pristine elegance and suffused with a rare beauty, do what fiction does best: they uncover deeply humane, quiet moments that radiate meaning. No one—with the exception of James Joyce and Alistair MacLeod—writes about the way the sea meets the land with the authority and knowingness of Wall. The Islands is an elegant and astonishing sequence of stories.” —David Means

Past praise for William Wall
“Wall, who is also a poet, writes prose so charged—at once lyrical and syncopated—that it’s as if Cavafy had decided to write about a violent Irish household.”—The New Yorker

Past praise for William Wall
“Wall’s touch with characterization is light and deft: many illustrate themselves plainly with just a few lines of dialogue.”—The Guardian

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Drue Heinz Literature Prize
Fiction/Drue Heinz
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WINNER OF THE 2017 DRUE HEINZ LITERATURE PRIZE
Selected by David Gates

William Wall is the first international winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize.

In this collection of interconnected stories, the beautiful and ravaging forces of sea and land collide with the forces of human nature, through isolation and family, love and loss, madness and revelation. The stories follow the lives of two sisters and the people who come and go in their lives, much like the tides. Dominated by the tragic loss of a third sister at a young age, their family spirals out of control. We witness three stages of the sisters’ lives, each taking place on an island—in southwest Ireland, southern England, and the Bay of Naples. Beautifully and sparsely written, the stories deeply evoke landscape and character, and are suffused with a keen eye for detail and metaphor.

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