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Aspen Institute Announces Five Finalists For Aspen Words Literary Prize

Aspen Words

Four novels and one short story collection are on the shortlist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, the organization announced Wednesday. The award recognizes a work of fiction that highlights vital contemporary issues; the finalists address drug addiction, homophobia, immigration and income inequality. 

The 2020 shortlist:

  • Opioid, Indiana by Brian Allen Carr (Soho Press)

  • Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright)

  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri (Ballantine Books)

  • Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (Knopf)
  • Lot by Bryan Washington (Riverhead Books) 

The winner will be announced live at an awards ceremony in New York City at The Morgan Library on Thursday, April 16. The finalists will participate in a conversation moderated by Mary Louise Kelly, co-host of “All Things Considered.” The Pitkin County Library will host a live viewing party. 

This spring Aspen Words, in partnership with the Pitkin County Library, will distribute free copies of the winning book for a community read program.

Aspen Words partners with NPR Books on the $35,000 prize.


Contributor Christin Kay is passionate about the rich variety of arts, cultural experiences and stories in the Roaring Fork Valley. She has been a devotee of public radio her whole life. Christin is a veteran of Aspen Public Radio, serving as producer, reporter and interim news director.
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