blackbirdonline journalSpring 2017  Vol. 16 No. 1

Reading Loop Introduction

spacer Angela Flournoy
   from The Turner House

Cabell First Novelist Award 
   A Reading by Angela Flournoy
   Panel Discussion
   A Conversation with Angela Flournoy

Matthew Phipps
   Review | The Turner House, by Angela Flournoy

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Angela Flournoy received the 2016 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award for The Turner House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). The novel was also a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.

The award, which celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in 2016, honors an outstanding debut novel published in the preceding calendar year. To commemorate this year’s winner, VCU coordinated a series of events including a reading by Angela Flournoy and a panel featuring the prizewinning novelist; Dr. Shermaine Jones of VCU; Ellen Levine, Flournoy’s agent; and Jenna Johnson, her editor. Recordings and transcriptions of the reading and panel are featured in the Blackbird First Novelist Reading Loop, along with “A Conversation with Angela Flournoy,” a craft-based discussion between Flournoy and the VCU community.

The VCU Cabell First Novelist Award is presented under the auspices of Virginia Commonwealth University’s MFA program in creative writing. The award 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, the VCU MFA program in creative writing, the James Branch Cabell Library Associates, the VCU Friends of the Library, VCU Libraries, the VCU Honors College, Barnes & Noble @ VCU, and the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences.  end