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Release: Immediate

Short fiction collections win 1997 awards from UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The winners of two prestigious awards for debut collections of short stories, sponsored by the University of Iowa Press and the UI Writers' Workshop, have been announced.

The winner of the 1997 Short Fiction Award is "Thank You for Being Concerned and Sensitive," by Jim Henry. Currently a graduate student at Cleveland State University, Henry has published stories in Studies in Contemporary Satire and in Whiskey Island.

The winner of the 1997 John Simmons Short Fiction Award is "Within the Lighted City," by Lisa Lenzo. Lenzo, who works as a driver and dispatcher for a public transportation system in southwestern Michigan, is a 1992 winner of a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. Her stories have appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review, New England Review, Michigan Quarterly Review and other journals.

Ann Beattie, the author of "Chilly Scenes of Winter," "Picturing Will," and "Where You'll Find Me," judged the 1997 competition.

Beattie praised Henry's work, saying, "[His] characters struggle with private dreams and demons and with public versus private realities. ... [I]t's difficult not to feel uneasily, and perhaps a bit exhilaratingly, implicated."

She continued: "In [Lenzo's] collection we are offered more of a landscape than a map, yet its interlocking pieces gradually form a whole that seems greater that the sum of is parts. In some way, it would seem we've all walked there."

Both awards are given to a first collection of fiction and are administered through the UI Writers' Workshop. Manuscripts of the winning selections are published by the UI Press.

The Iowa Short Fiction Award has been conducted annually by the Workshop since 1969. In 1988, the UI Press created the John Simmons Short Fiction Award, named after the first director of the Press.

"Thank You for Being Concerned and Sensitive" and " Within the Lighted City" will be published by the UI Press in the fall of 1997.