The Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop, housed at the University of Central Arkansas, announced Jennifer Steil’s novel, The Ambassador’s Wife, as the winner of the second annual Phillip H. McMath Post Publication book award.

Writer and Arkansas literary activist Phillip McMath was the final judge. Students in the Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop served as preliminary judges determining the finalists.

Six finalists were named from 52 entered:

  • I Was a Revolutionary by Andrew Malan Milward
  • Partly Fallen by Deborah Akers
  • Sad Math by Sarah Freligh
  • Under the Spell of a Persian Nightingale by Diana Woodcock
  • The Listener by Rachel Basch
  • Burdy by Karen Spears Zacharias

The Ambassador’s Wife, published by Doubleday in July 2015, won the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Best Novel award and was shortlisted for both the Bisexual Book Award and the Lascaux Novel Prize. It has received considerable critical acclaim, notably in the Seattle Times, Publisher’s Weekly and The New York Times Book Review.

Steil’s first book, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (Broadway Books, 2010) is a memoir about her tenure as editor of the Yemen Observer newspaper in Sana’a. Steil’s freelance work has appeared in the World Policy Journal, Die Welt, Saranac Review, Vogue UK, the Washington Times, The Week, Yahoo Travel, Time and The Rumpus.

Steil will travel to Arkansas to receive her award on Wednesday, March 8, as part of the University of Central Arkansas’s Arkatext Literary Festival, which runs March 6-10. As part of the award, she will also conduct a workshop for UCA students.

Entries are now being accepted for the third annual Phillip McMath Post Publication book award.  For more information, please see this page on our blog: https://arkansaswriters.wordpress.com/philip-k-mcmath-post-publication-book-award-genre-unlimited/

The Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop is a writing-intensive study program in Creative Writing that uniquely prepares graduates for careers as writers and in writing pedagogy and publishing.

The UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication includes the Departments of Art, Music, and Film, Theatre and Creative Writing, as well as the School of Communication. The college’s primary mission is the preparation of the next generation of artists, educators and communicators. For more information about CFAC, visit www.uca.edu/cfac or call ‪501-450-3293.