Kevin Fenton of Saint Paul, Minnesota, has won the 2009 AWP Award for the Novel for his manuscript titled Merit Badges. Jim Shepard, author of Like You'd Understand, Anyway, judged the contest for AWP. AWP is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to serving American letters, writers, and programs of writing. Visit the 2009 AWP Award Series page for more information on the contest and to view the winners of the other categories.
Judge's Statement: "Merit Badges lays out for the reader an entire, if circumscribed, world, in all of its limitations and surprising possibilities, rendered with a heartening intelligence and tenderness and wit — "The weather was like me, only more so. The weather needed some counseling" — and in so doing reminds us of Simone Weil's understanding that attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity"
Kevin Fenton lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and works as an advertising writer and creative director. He has published stories in the Laurel Review, the Northwest Review, and Emprise Review; poetry in the Beloit Poetry Journal, and reviews and essays in Rain Taxi, the design quarterlies Émigré and Eye (London), and the Minneapolis StarTribune. An essay was anthologized in Looking Closer 2: Critical Writing On Graphic Design. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. He serves on the board of two organizations: Rain Taxi Review of Books and the Innocence Project of Minnesota.
New Issues will publish Merit Badges with an official release at the 2011 AWP Annual Conference in Washington D.C. - February 16-19, 2011.