blackbirdonline journalSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1

Reading Loop Introduction

spacer Jade Chang
   from The Wangs vs. the World

Cabell First Novelist Award  audio
   A Reading by Jade Chang 
   Panel Discussion

Emily Block
   Review | The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang
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. 

Jade Chang received the 2017 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award for The Wangs vs. the World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016). Chang’s novel was chosen as a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2016.

The award, which celebrated its sixteenth anniversary in 2017, recognizes one exceptional novel from a previously unpublished author. As part of the celebration, Chang read an excerpt of her prizewinning novel, and Virginia Commonwealth University organized a panel discussion featuring Helen Atsma, Editorial Director of Fiction at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Hanna Pylväinen, assistant professor of English at VCU, specializing in fiction writing; and Marc Gerald, Chang’s agent. A recording of the panel, a transcript of the reading, and Blackbird’s review of Chang’s novel (by Emily Block) are featured in the First Novelist Award Reading Loop.

The VCU 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, the VCU MFA program in creative writing, the James Branch Cabell Library Associates, the Friends of VCU Libraries, VCU Libraries, the VCU Honors College, Barnes & Noble @ VCU, and the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences.  end