Gainesville author wins $50K literary prize

Gainesville author Lauren Groff won the 2022 Joyce Carol Oates Prize last week and received its $50,000 award for an “already emerged author of national consequence.” 

Groff released her sixth novel, “Matrix,” in September 2021, and her previous novel, “Florida,” earned several accolades as a finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Story Prize and one of NPR’s best books of the year. 

“This award will, I hope, spur me to finish the last part of my triptych circling ideas of religion, women, climate change, and capitalism, allowing me the space to breathe, think, and slow myself down so that I can make a weirder and riskier and more difficult book than I otherwise may have been able to write under all my usual pressures,” Groff said in a press release.

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The prize supports midcareer authors who’ve yet to achieve the highest prizes—Pulitzer or MacArthur. It also looks for authors who’ve earned the praise of readers and reviewers.

Groff will complete a residency in the Bay Area as part of the award. 

“Wherever her imagination leads, she writes with subtlety and force,” Joyce Carol Oates said in a release. “For all that, there is an enthralling undercurrent of poetry in her prose, with sentences of beauty that reward careful attention.”

Groff’s other novels are: “Arcadia,” “Fates” and Furies,” “Delicate Edible Birds” and “The Monsters of Templeton.” Her novels have been translated into more than 30 languages. 

Groff will speak with Oates on May 4 in a virtual conversation from 7 to 8:30 p.m. You can register for free here

The New Literary Project started in 2016 through partnership with the University of California, Berkeley. It began presenting the award six years ago.

Lauren Groff signs a copy of her novel Florida at the Alachua County Library District


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