Beyond honored to have unanimously won the Tom La Farge Award for Innovative Writing. I’m deeply grateful to the committee members, including Wendy Walker, Corina Bardoff, Sam Goodman, Michael Kowalski, Daniel Levin Becker, Eliza Grace Martin, and Philip Ording. The $10,000 from this award will fund my proposed project, a third novel after the soon-finished Morphological Echoes.
It’s my dream to write a novel that encompasses the world of Greece in a way akin to what Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children did for his ancestral country of India. The tentative title is Silence of the Sirens, a phrase of untapped potential borrowed from Kafka. In the context of my novel, it’ll evoke those rock-perched songbird beings, of course, but also the sirens of political unrest and protest relevant to modern Greece. The novel will feature a character based on my late grandfather, Yannis the fisherman, who passed away in 2017. My papou became known for his original art pieces made from cut and dyed pieces of silkworm cocoons, fashioning a plethora of flora and even a silkworm cocoon version of The Last Supper. Among other things, he also used wood, tin, and paint to bring tropical fish to life.
In addition, there will be a wide variety of characters that stretches from a boy named Poseidon who’s afraid of water to a Greek dictator who, like the hydra, regrows a new head after each assassination attempt. Humans are not the limit, and I plan on incorporating other members of the animal kingdom, such as the pelican sheriff of Mykonos who catches criminals in his capacious beak pouch. Beyond that, I can see a conscious conch that speaks in the voice of the far-off ocean: what will it say when someone picks it up and places it over their ear?
To help make this novel a reality, the award funds will allow me to live in Greece for several months of research while also correcting an oversight of my childhood and finally learning the Greek language.
I’m also grateful for the recognition of the hard work I’ve put in over the many years not only for the sake of my own fiction but also for my literary publication, The Collidescope, where I’ve spent countless hours of my free time promoting the work of other authors, many of whom are sorely neglected. This award will encourage me to do much more in both spheres. Thank you again to the Tom La Farge Award committee. I’ll do everything I can to make them proud and honor Tom’s legacy.
Looking forward to celebrating with friends new and old in NYC soon. And a huge thanks to everyone who encouraged and believed in me. You know who you are.
“Although we received many interesting proposals, George’s was the one that seemed most firmly grounded in Tom’s aesthetic values: a love of language, serious play, erudition and innovative style.”
Read more about the award here: www.TheTomLaFargeAward.com
One of the judges, Corina Bardoff, said, “I am so excited to celebrate this ambitious novelist who does so much to celebrate other authors.”