Debut fiction writer wins $25,000 Bingham Prize

AP News
Posted: Sep 29, 2014 8:26 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The author of the story collection "Godforsaken Idaho" has won a $25,000 prize.

Shawn Vestal is the winner of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for debut fiction. He was to receive the award Monday at a New York ceremony organized by the PEN American Center, the literary and human rights organization.

Scheduled to present the Bingham Prize was Louise Erdrich, who recently won the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for lifetime achievement.

PEN judges in their citation praised Vestal for his blend of genres from fantasy to historical fiction and his ability to bring new energy to "the well-trodden arena of the hapless male."

Vestal is an Idaho native and a columnist for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington. He also has written a short memoir, "A.K.A. Charles Abbott."