Drue Heinz Winner Joanna PearsonMonday, October 18, 2021 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
This is a virtual-only event streamed on City of Asylum’s virtual platform, City of Asylum @ Home.
Reading and discussion with 2020 Drue Heinz Winner, Joanna Pearson. Joanna will read from her award-winning collection Now You Know it All and be joined in conversation by Clare Beams (The Illness Lesson)
Now You Know It All: Winner of the 2021 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, selected by Edward P. Jones
Poised on the precipice of mystery and longing, each character in Now You Know It All also hovers on the brink of discovery—and decision. Set in small-town North Carolina, or featuring eager Southerners venturing afar, these stories capture the crucial moment of irrevocable change. With a sharp eye for rendering inner life, Joanna Pearson has a knack for creating both compassion and a looming sense of threat. Her stories peel back the layers of the narratives we tell ourselves in an attempt to understand the world, revealing that the ghosts haunting us are often the very shadows that we cast.
“Subtle and moving . . . Pearson’s stories glide through their alarming moments with a precision hard to look away from. This will transfix and unsettle.”
Joanna Pearson is a lapsed poet who once wrote a young adult novel on a whim but nowadays mostly writes short fiction. Her first collection of stories, Every Human Love, was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Awards, the Foreword Indies Awards, and the Janet Heidinger Prize for Fiction. Her stories have appeared in Best Small Fictions and Best of the Net, as well as other journals. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars and an MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. A native of western North Carolina, she now lives with her husband and two daughters near Chapel Hill, where she works as a psychiatrist.
Clare Beams’s novel The Illness Lesson (Doubleday, 2020) was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a best book of 2020 by Esquire and Bustle. Her story collection We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout Books, 2016) won the Bard Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two daughters and has taught creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University and the Randolph College MFA program.
The Drue Heinz Literature Prize was established in 1980 to encourage and support the writing and reading of short fiction. The first award was presented in 1981 to David Bosworth for The Death of Descartes, selected by Robert Penn Warren. Over the past nearly four decades, some of the most accomplished writers in the English language have served as senior judges, including Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, Alice McDermott, John Edgar Wideman, Elizabeth Hardwick, Michael Chabon, Joan Didion, Scott Turow, Ann Patchett, and Richard Russo. They have selected the best collections from the hundreds of manuscripts submitted annually to receive a cash prize of $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press. The prize was endowed by the Drue Heinz Trust in 1995 to provide funds for the prize in perpetuity.