UNCW Alum a 2012 Prairie Schooner Book Prize Winner

Xhenet Aliu a 2012 Prairie Schooner Book Prize Winner

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Xhenet Aliu, a graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, was awarded the 2012 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction for her manuscript, Domesticated Wild Things. Prairie Schooner is the internationally recognized literary journal and publication of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln English Department. Aliu will receive a $3,000 prize and publication by the University of Nebraska Press.

"There is a sophisticated brand of humor in Aliu's fiction-her stories in Domesticated Wild Things will make you laugh out loud but will not burden you with any sense of guilt that might come from laughing at people," says Kwame Dawes, editor of Prairie Schooner. "Her affection for her beautifully rendered characters is contagious, making the humor affirming and humanizing. These are entertaining and insightful stories full of surprises and revelations.  We are thrilled to publish what will be her debut collection."

Aliu's fiction has appeared in journals such as Glimmer Train, Hobart and The Barcelona Review. She has received multiple scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation. A former secretary, waitress, entertainment journalist and private investigator, she received her B.A. from Southern Connecticut State University and an M.F.A. from UNC Wilmington in 2007. She currently lives in Athens, Ga. She is of Albanian Muslim and Lithuanian Catholic descent.

"I remember when I was about 20 years old, before I'd ever submitted a story or even heard the term 'literary magazine,' picking up a copy of Prairie Schooner at my local Barnes & Noble and feeling awed that a forum of amazing contemporary writing like this existed," says Aliu. "I'm even more awed now that my own collection will get to wear Prairie Schooner and the University of Nebraska Press on its cover. I couldn't imagine a better outfit for my book."

In addition to the fiction award, Prairie Schooner announced winners in the categories of short fiction and poetry. Sherman Alexie, who visited UNCW as part of the Leadership Lecture Series, was among the judges for fiction. The winners were chosen from more than 1,100 submissions from around the world.