Native Son Wins Lit Prize

Jack Livings

Jack Livings

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Winnsboro literary sensation Jack Livings has won the 2015 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award for his debut collection of short stories, “The Dog,” which was published in 2014 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. The $25,000 prize was announced Monday night at the PEN Literary Awards Ceremony at The New School in New York City. As described by the PEN America Center, the award “honors exceptionally talented fiction writers whose debut work represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.”

The judges commented that, “The Dog reminds the reader that fiction … is an investigation, an act of empathy and imagination which brings the world to life.”

Livings, whose competition included the 2014 National Book Award winner, said he was shocked when his name was announced as the winner.

“I wasn’t sure I’d heard correctly,” he said in an email interview with The Voice on Tuesday. “Then it slowly dawned on me I hadn’t deluded myself into hearing my name.”

Livings and his wife, writer Jennie Yabroff, celebrated by enjoying dinner out with friends after the ceremony.

“The friends happened to be Molly Antopol and her husband,” Livings said. “Molly’s book was nominated for the award, too, and I suspect that had she won, we’d all have been at dinner together afterwards. The only difference would have been who picked up the check.”

Livings is a native of Winnsboro and a 1992 graduate of Richard Winn Academy, and his mother, Laurens Livings, said she’s delighted that he’s able to return home several times a year. He and Yabroff live with their two daughters in Manhattan, where he works as the International Editor in Licensing and Syndication at Time, Inc. He is currently at work on his next book, a novel set in New York City.

“I’m tremendously honored,” Livings said of the PEN/Bingham award, “and it’s gratifying to know that other people thought enough of the book to give it a prize.”

“The Dog” is available for purchase on Amazon.com, at Barnes & Noble and through independent bookstores.