blackbirdonline journalSpring 2011  Vol. 10  No. 1

Reading Loop Introduction

spacer Justin Torres
   from We the Animals
   We Wanted More

A Reading by Justin Torres

Panel Discussion
   Publishing a First Novel

A Conversation with Justin Torres

Lena Moses-Schmitt
   Review | We the Animals, by Justin Torres



spacer A link to Blackbird’s “First Novelist Reading Loop” menu appears at the bottom of every First Novelist-related page. You may also return to this menu at any time by visiting Features. 

Justin Torres is the 2012 winner of the Cabell First Novelist Award for We the Animals.

The award, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2011, recognizes one debut novel by a rising literary talent each year. It is the centerpiece of the annual First Novelist Festival, which includes a reading by the prizewinning novelist and a discussion panel with the author, his agent, and the book's editor.

The Blackbird First Novelist Reading Loop features two excerpts from We the Animals (“Seven” and “We Wanted More,” under Fiction), along with a reading by and a conversation with Justin Torres on craft, inspiration, and writing from personal history (Features). Also included are a recording and transcript of a panel discussion with Torres, his agent Jin Auh, and his editor Jenna Johnson, moderated by Richmond-based writer, educator, and filmmaker Valley Haggard (Features), as well as a review of We the Animals (Nonfiction).

The Cabell First Novelist Award, which is presented under the auspices of Virginia Commonwealth University’s MFA program in Creative Writing, was created by Tom De Haven and Laura Browder to celebrate VCU’s inaugural year-long novel workshop, the first of its kind in the nation. Initial funding for the award was provided by VCU alumnus and novelist David Baldacci. The award was named for James Branch Cabell, a prominent Richmond writer who died in 1958, and whose papers are collected in the VCU library that bears his name.

Current sponsors of the award include the VCU Department of English, James Branch Cabell Library Associates, the Friends of the Library, VCU Libraries, the VCU Honors College, Barnes & Noble at VCU, and the College of Humanities and Sciences.  end