Zat Lun by Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize, which aims "to honor and encourage the art of literary nonfiction, and is given to an outstanding manuscript by an emerging author who has published no more than two previous books of nonfiction." Zat Lun captures Myint's own family history and her life growing up in San Jose, Calif., as well as the official and mythic histories that relate to ongoing conflicts in Myanmar. In addition to publication, the award comes with a $12,000 advance.
"In an exceptionally strong field, Zat Lun stood out for the elegance of its lyric prose and the ingenuity of its structure," said Graywolf editor Steve Woodward. "Myint's hybrid approach and incorporation of myth and oral traditions overturn expectations around immigrant narratives, and add layers to her parallel investigations of both her family history and that of Myanmar. The whole team at Graywolf is delighted to see this truly original and bold manuscript join the ranks of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize winners."
Myint commented: "As an immigrant and a person of color, it is rare that I have the opportunity to represent myself on my own terms. My hybrid, genre-defying family history project Zat Lun is an effort to do just that: to write about my identity and heritage as ongoing, living narratives. I am deeply grateful to have Graywolf believe in and support my project and am honored to join such an inspirational group of authors who have previously won this prize."