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Wins 2004 PEN/Faulkner Award

War, specifically World War II, is the backdrop for The Caprices, by Sabina Murray, which was named winner of the 2003 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The Caprices, published by Mariner Books, is the fourth collection of short stories to receive the PEN/Faulkner since its inception in 1981. The nine stories of the collection are a history told through individual lives, delving into the nature of survival, and set in Southeast Asia, Australia, and the United States.

Murray, the 34-year-old wife of poet John Hennessy, is a screenwriter and novelist whose first work of fiction - Slow Burn - was published in 1990. The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is America's largest peer-juried prize for fiction, and it bestowed Murray with a $15,000 prize. Her book was chosen from among 357 novels and short story collections published in the United States during 2002. Murray, along with four other finalists, was honored during the 23rd annual PEN/Faulkner Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on May 17, 2003. According to the Washington Post, she has just completed her second novel, A Carnivore's Inquiry. Judges were Gail Godwin, Valerie Martin and Alexs Pate; finalists were Peter Cameron for The City of Your Final Destination, William Kennedy for Rosco, Victor LaValle for The Ecstatic (LaValle is also the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus), and Gilbert Sorrentino for Little Casino.

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In July 2004, Grove Press released Sabina Murray's novel A Carnivore's Inquiry, labeled as a "seductive thriller" by Booklist.

In Association with on The Caprices:

With none of the nostalgia that mars so many books and movies about World War II, Sabina Murray's short story collection The Caprices covers the unfamiliar territory of the Pacific Campaign--Malaysia, the Philippines, New Guinea--and the all-too-familiar territory of human suffering. Most of Murray's characters are victims of circumstance. In the title story, a once-wealthy family lives in the shell of its grand house in Manila, guarding a demented young girl named Trinidad and trying not to attract the attention of the Japanese soldiers who have occupied the town. Brilliant and affecting, The Caprices merits comparison to The English Patient and, in a different vein but with a similar breadth of reach, David Mitchell's Ghostwritten. --Regina Marler, ©

Winning Short Story Collections
1986> The Old Forest and Other Stories by Peter Hillsman Taylor
1989> Dusk and Other Stories by James Salter
1997> Women in Their Beds by Gina Berriault
2003> The Caprices by Sabina Murray


The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (official website)

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