The 2016 Leapfrog Global Fiction Prize was judged by Sara Pritchard and the winning title was Katayoun Medhat’s novel, The Quality of Mercy. Pritchard said of the collection, “Move over Walt Longmire. Make room for Franz Kafka, aka ‘K.’ Expertly plotted, beautifully written, eloquent, colloquial, wry, insightful . . . Medhat demonstrates a keen sense of place and Navajo culture and history, with superior attention to language; smart, witty, often humorous and always precise analogies, metaphors, and similes. A sharp eye for detail and sprachgefuhl for putting observations into words. Style, grace, a confident, compelling, and controlled narrative voice. The sophisticated narration dances from omniscient to close-third without any false steps or trips. A very smooth operator, this writer. The characters glide off the page. This book is a high-wire act, and the author shines a bright, steady beam on the dark stage where clashing cultures meet.”
Sara Pritchard is a historian of technology and an environmental historian. Her first book, Confluence: The Nature of Technology and the Remaking of the Rhône (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011), examines the history of the transformation of France’s Rhône River since World War II. Sara’s second book project, From Blue to Black Marble: Knowing Light Pollution in the Anthropocene, explores how different scientific communities have studied artificial light at night and specifically environmental light pollution since the 1970s.