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National Book Honors for Monmouth University’s Alex Gilvarry

Alex Gilvarry, artist-in-residence in the Monmouth University English Department, was awarded one of the United States’ highest honors for fiction writers by being named as one of “5 under 35” honorees from the National Book Foundation (NBF) on September 30.

This impressive award is given to emerging fiction writers, each selected by a former National Book Award finalist. 

Leslie Shipman, assistant director of the NBF, said the “5 under 35 program is about supporting a rising generation of talented authors.” 

The award will be announced as part of the highly awaited announcement of the 2014/15 National Book Awards in November.

“Alex’s novel is so lively, sentence by sentence, and so self-assured in its narrative complexity that it’s hard to believe this book represents his literary debut. The award recognizes that he’s already beyond ‘promising’ and that he may become one of our foremost prose stylists,” said Michael Waters, Monmouth University professor and internationally recognized poet.

Melissa Febos, herself an acclaimed writer in Monmouth University’s creative writing program characterized Gilvarry’s talent by saying, “All anyone has to do to feel confident in Alex’s writing future is read his novel, but in lieu of that, let the NBF’s honor assure you: this precocious talent is just getting started.” 

His debut novel, “Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant,” selected by Amy Bloom-a 1993 National Book Finalist-tells the story of Boyet Hernandez, a Filipino man with a big American dreams accidentally swept to America’s most notorious prison, administered a Qur’an and locked away indefinitely to discover his link to a terrorist plot.

Gilvarry has been a Norman Mailer Fellow, a Visiting Scholar at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin, and earlier received the Hornblower Award at the 2012 New York City Book Awards for “Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant.” He has previously taught at Wesleyan University and Manhattanville College.

During the fall semester Gilvarry will be teaching Introduction to Creative Writing; Creative Writing: Fiction; and a graduate-level seminar on Creative Writing Fiction.​