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Whiting Award winners announced

October 28, 2010 |  9:19 am

At a ceremony in New York on Wednesday night, the Whiting Award winners were announced. Because the awards go to writers in the early stages of their careers, the winners' names may not be familiar -- not yet, perhaps. Previous recipients include Jonathan Franzen, Michael Cunningham, Colson Whitehead, Marc Doty, Nell Fredudenberger, Douglas Kearney, David Foster Wallace and Suzan-Lori Parks.

The substantial awards -- grants of $50,000 each -- are designed to allow deepened focus and concentration on work that the awards committee cites as having "extraordinary talent and promise."

The winners are:

David Adjmi, plays. His productions include "Stunning," which premiered at Lincoln Center Theater. He is at work on a book for HarperCollins and lives in Brooklyn.

Elif Batuman, nonfiction. Her collection of essays, "Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them," was published this year by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She is spending this year in Istanbul.

Michael Dahlie, fiction. His first novel, "A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living," was published in 2008 by W.W. Norton. He lives in Indianapolis.

Matt Donovan, poetry. His first collection, "Vellum," was published by Mariner/Houghton Mifflin in 2006. He lives in Santa Fe, N.M.

Rattawut Lapcharoensap, fiction. His collection of short stories, "Sightseeing", was published by Grove in 2004, and he has a first novel under contract with Grove. He lives in Laramie, Wyo.

Amy Leach, nonfiction. She is at work on a book of essays about animals, plants and stars for Milkweed Editions. She lives in Chicago.

Lydia Peelle, fiction. Her collection of stories, "Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing," was published by Harper Perennial in 2009. She lives in Nashville.

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, nonfiction. His memoir, "When Skateboards Will Be Free," was published in 2009 by the Dial Press. He lives in New York City and is at work on a novel.

Jane Springer, poetry. Her first poetry collection, "Dear Blackbird," was published by University of Utah Press in 2007. She lives in Clinton, N.Y.

LB Thompson, poetry. Her poetry chapbook is entitled "Tendered Notes: Poems of Love and Money." She lives on the North Fork of Long Island, has completed a poetry collection and is at work on a book of essays and a novel.

The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation has been presenting the awards since 1985.

-- Carolyn Kellogg