Alumna Alice Sola Kim Wins Prestigious Whiting Award

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From: The Ampersand

On March 23, the Whiting Foundation announced the names of the ten new Whiting Award winners, including alumna Alice Sola Kim (GR'11) for her outstanding work in fiction.

The Whiting Awards, established in 1985, remain one of the most esteemed and largest monetary gifts ($50,000) to emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, and are based on the criteria of early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come. "Six brilliant judges looked far and read deeply to settle on our ten winners, and we hope the support and encouragement of the award with free them up to do adventurous work," said Courtney Hodell, Director of Writers' Programs at the Whiting Foundation. Past winners of the award include luminaries like David Foster Wallace, Jeffrey Eugenides, Lydia Davis, Denis Johnson, Mary Karr, Tony Kushner, Michael Cunningham, Alice McDermott, Mark Doty, and Jonathan Franzen. 

Kim is a graduate of WashU's MFA in Creative Writing program, and her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science FictionTin House, Lenny Letter, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons, among other publications. She has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow and has received grants and scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Elizabeth George Foundation. 

Of her work, the selection committee wrote, "Alice Sola Kim is gutsy and lithe, funny and buoyant, moving but never mawkish. Staking out new territory with charismatic ferocity, Kim shows us what playfulness and power can be found in the hybridization of genres. Her stories place her young protagonists in worlds that are sometimes a little different from ours (a residence for friendless ladies) and sometimes very different (Venus), but her understanding of her characters makes these worlds seem instantly real. Her protagonists are often trying to define themselves against the expectations of those around them, and so the stories are as much speculations about the shape a life will take as they are explorations of speculative new worlds. She is a writer of great nuance and tenderness, of mirth and mischief, who honors magic and is already a master of human idiosyncrasy."

Currently, Kim is working on her first novel and lives in Brooklyn, New York. You can read an excerpt from her fiction on The Paris Review website.

For more information about the Whiting Award or for the full list of the 2016 or past winners, visit their website