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For First-Time US Author, a Life-Changing Surprise

Emily Ruskovich wins prestigious literary prize worth more than $100K
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2019 8:25 AM CDT
A screen shot of Emily Ruskovich, as she does a reading from her novel 'Idaho.'   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Lots of debut novelists would be happy if they won only good reviews. In this case, a young American writer just picked up the world's most lucrative prize for a single novel, reports the Guardian. Emily Ruskovich, 33, has won the International Dublin award, which comes with a payday of $112,000, for her book Idaho. Public libraries around the world nominate books for the honor, and Ruskovich's entry into the contest came thanks to a single library in Bruges, Belgium. Ruskovich got the call while with her year-old daughter in her garden in Boise, Idaho. "I couldn’t really believe it had happened," she says. "It was just a quiet little moment in the grass with my baby and my life was completely changed."

The book, published by Random House, revolves around the murder of a young girl by her mother, but the judges said it goes far beyond a mere crime thriller. "I'm mesmerized by the complexity of the narrative from the first paragraph and amazed by how Ruskovich braids different time strands into this magnificent tapestry," declared Chinese author Yan Ge, per the Irish Times. "Ruscovich is a writer with a masterful vision." The debut author teaches creative writing at Boise State University. The size of the prize is "shocking," she says. "I don't know exactly what I’ll do with it but I feel I can now make choices that will ultimately really benefit my writing." (Read more authors stories.)

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