Awards: Ondaatje Winner; Shirley Jackson Finalists

Pascale Petit has won the £10,000 (about $13,550) Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize for Mama Amazonica. This is the first time the award, given to "a distinguished work of fiction, nonfiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place," has been won by a work of poetry.

One of the judges, Eva Hoffman, described Mama Amazonica this way: "In Pascale Petit's evocations, the Amazon rainforest comes alive, with human characters as much a part of nature as the creatures and plants living there--alluring and frightening, violent and vulnerable, dangerous and endangered. A feat of imaginative intensity, this is also an act of reckoning and reparation, in which deep empathy for a disturbed mother is transmuted into the exacting beauty of poetic language."


Finalists have been named in six categories for this year's Shirley Jackson Awards, which recognize "outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror and the dark fantastic." The winners, voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics and academics, will be announced July 15 at Readercon 29, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Quincy, Mass.

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