Rabih Alameddine wins PEN/Faulkner in Fiction

Rabih Alameddine wins PEN/Faulkner in Fiction

We are excited to announce that Rabih Alameddine, UVA’s Kapnick Foundation Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, has been selected as the winner of the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for his novel The Wrong End of the Telescope (Grove Atlantic).

“This year’s judges have done the seemingly impossible,” said Louis Bayard, PEN/Faulkner Awards Committee Chair. “They have found a ‘first among equals’ in a diverse slate of five extraordinary titles. We look forward to celebrating Rabih Allameddine’s exquisite novel, as well as the enduring work of his fellow finalists.”

This year’s judges—Eugenia Kim, Rebecca Makkai, and Rion Amilcar Scott—considered more than 500 eligible novels and short story collections by American authors published in the US during the 2021 calendar year. Submissions came from more than 200 publishing houses, including independent and academic presses.

“Impassioned and remarkably constructed, Rabih Alameddine’s The Wrong End of the Telescope takes us into the life of a transgender Lebanese-American doctor, Mina, working in Lesbos at a refugee camp for Syrians,” said this year’s judges. “Alameddine makes original use of second-person narration, positioning Mina against a ‘you’ character who, though a veteran collector of refugee stories, is overcome by his experiences in Lesbos. Putting no moral gloss on its subjects, and infused with the gravitas of a fittingly Greek mythos, this novel explores the complexities of the refugees’ lives and the intricacies of Mina’s relationships, examines the many angles of a timely and vital subject, and probes the life-changing choices humans are forced to make. The exquisite language suspends time and investigates the intricacies of seeking refuge, both from geopolitical disruptions and from one’s own patterns of life. In a year of stunning and important fiction, this work stands as a particular achievement: a novel that cries out to be heard and that teaches us, both intrinsically and extrinsically, what story can do.”