Creighton University Creative Writing Professor Mary Helen Stefaniak has been awarded a 2011 Anisfield Wolf Book Award for Fiction for her recently published novel, The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia (W. W. Norton & Company).
The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award recognizes books “that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. For 75 years, the distinguished books earning Anisfield-Wolf prizes have opened and challenged our minds.” (Learn more at www.anisfield-wolf.org.)
The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia takes place during 1938 in rural, depression-era Georgia. The novel’s narrator, 11-year-old Gladys Cailiff, tells what happens when an unconventional and well-traveled school teacher comes to town.
Anisfield-Wolf juror Rita Dove described the novel as “a rollicking tale that manages to speak seriously to the tragedy of ignorance and the damage caused by fear.”
Other members of the jury that selected Stefaniak’s novel were Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Joyce Carol Oates, Steven Pinker, and Simon Schama.
Stefaniak's previous novel, The Turk and My Mother (W. W. Norton), won the 2005 John Gardner Book Award. Her collection of short stories, "Self Storage and Other Stories" (New Rivers Press) received the Wisconsin Library Association's 1998 Banta Award. For more information on Mary Helen Stefaniak and The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia, please visit: http://www.maryhelenstefaniak.com/