Grace Talusan won the 2017 Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, honoring "an outstanding debut literary work by a first-generation immigrant," for her memoir The Body Papers. The prize is given for fiction and nonfiction in alternating years. Talusan receives a $10,000 advance and publication by Restless Books in the fall of 2018.
The judges said Talusan "has written a remarkable memoir in The Body Papers, training an unflinching eye on the most delicate and fraught contours of her own life as an immigrant and survivor of trauma and illness. She tackles with literary subtlety and a deep reservoir of compassion the paradoxes imposed by being the 'perfect immigrant'--but also an 'illegal' one. She gives herself permission to detach from her religious, traditional, family-first Filipino culture in order to excavate a legacy of violence and abuse that, unmentionable at the time, dominated her childhood and shaped her adulthood. Throughout, she incisively navigates the ambiguities of identity that immigrants constantly face."
Talusan noted that she is "thrilled that my book about my particular immigrant and Filipino American experiences will soon exist on a bookstore or library shelf somewhere, ready for a reader to come upon it. I hope a variety of readers connect to my writing, which is about universal human experiences, and I would be especially proud if my book resonated with Filipino readers in the diaspora. Perhaps The Body Papers will encourage someone to break a silence and share a true story. It's my lifelong dream come true to publish a book, and I hope mine will soon have the good company of other underrepresented voices in literature as there are so many stories we have yet to read."