The 2017 Leapfrog Global Fiction Prize was judged by Sara Pritchard and the winning collection of short stories was Trip Wires by author Sandra Hunter. David Rocklin, author of The Luminist, said of the collection, “This is what life looks like when conflict repaints the canvas against which her characters seek love, family and a moment’s stability. Her keen eye for twinned details–the fleeting safety of an imam’s lap is set against a prayer rug in the back room of a California suburban home, far from neighbours’ eyes–lends this collection a rare power and poignancy. Not to be missed.”
George Looney’s novel, Report from a Place of Burning, also won the 2017 Leapfrog Global Fiction Prize. Pritchard said of the novel, “A fabulous mix of the arcane and ordinary. A familiar Rust Belt setting–a defunct Heinz factory with the acrid smell of vinegar lingering in the air–gives the story a desperation and Philip Dick-ish, dangerous, dystopian feel… the perfect surreal setting for this bleak (although at times, quite humorous) narrative and concoction of strange events… In a profound way [the novel] speaks, metaphorically, to “the times.” Amidst all the preoccupation with apocalyptic/Armageddon books/television/movies, the sense of impending doom in every facet of the news, and the rough beast that has slouched his way into the White House, here’s a nod to something that passeth all understanding, with a Julian of Norwich ending of radical optimism, in spite of grim, horrific events.”
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.