Announcing the Inaugural American Voices Award Finalists

Hernán Díaz, Elena Georgiou, and Renee Macalino Rutledge have been named finalists for the inaugural Institute for Immigration Research New American Voices Award. This post-publication book prize was created to recognize recently published works that illuminate the complexity of human experience as told by immigrants, whose work is historically underrepresented in writing and publishing. Díaz, Georgiou, and Macalino Rutledge will attend the award ceremony at Fall for the Book on Thursday, October 11 at George Mason University, where the winner will be announced.

The post-publication prose book prize was judged by Helon Habila, Madeleine Thien, and Maaza Mengiste. Find out more about the judges.

What the judges say–

From the first page, In the Distance subverts some of the most fundamental origin stories of America and the Wild West. What Hernán Díaz offers us in the strange and barren landscape of his brilliant novel is an account where foreignness is, in fact, American. At once spare and otherworldly, In the Distance is many things: it is story of a boy’s search for his brother, but it is also a tale of a man’s transformation into myth. And above all, it is a quiet insistence that the story of America has always been a story of foreigners. -Judge Maaza Mengiste

About Hernán Díaz-

Hernán Díaz is the author of Borges, Between History and Eternity (Bloomsbury 2012), managing editor of RHM, and associate director of the Hispanic Institute at Columbia University. He lives in New York.

“Renee Macalino Rutledge’s debut novel is unclassifiable – fable, critique, love story, dreamworld, myth and social realism push at the edges of this suspenseful and profoundly intelligent work. The Hour of Daydreams exists in a world of conflicting truths and contested histories, all inherited by later generations who must find a way to believe everyone while admitting the partiality of all. It is a beautiful, startling work, playful and compassionate and acute all at once.” -Judge Madeleine Thien

About Renee Macalino Rutledge-

Renee Macalino Rutledge was born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area from the age of four. A long-time local journalist, her articles and essays have appeared in ColorLines, Filipinas Magazine, Oakland and Alameda Magazine, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Literary Hub, Mutha Magazine, Ford City Anthology, and others. The Hour of Daydreams, finalist for the Institute for Immigration Research New American Voices Award and winner of the Foreword INDIES gold award in the multicultural category, is her debut novel. She lives in Alameda, California, with her husband and two daughters.

“The Immigrant’s Refrigerator is a collection of thirteen elegantly crafted stories, each of them structured around the themes of migration and the search for a new life in a new land. Georgiou explores in exquisite detail and haunting images her characters’ drive to seek meaning and acceptance in a world that is often distrustful of the “other”. The chaos of New York city, where most of the stories are set, gives the collection a greater poignance, the city becomes a maze where all the characters, both native and migrant, become equal in their desperate search for love and meaning in a world often devoid of both.”  – Judge Helon Habila

About Elena Georgiou –

Elena Georgiou is the author of the short-story collection The Immigrant’s Refrigerator (GenPop Books), and the poetry collections Rhapsody of the Naked Immigrants (Harbor Mountain Press) and mercy mercy me (University of Wisconsin), which won a Lambda Literary Award and was a finalist for the Publishing Triangle Award. She is also co-editor (with Michael Lassell) of the poetry anthology, The World In Us (St. Martin’s Press). Georgiou has won an Astraea Emerging Writers Award, a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship, and was a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work appears in journals such as BOMB, Cream City Review, Gargoyle, Spoon River Review, and Denver Quarterly. She is an editor at Tarpaulin Sky Press and the Director of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College. Georgiou is an English-Cypriot originally from London, where she spent the first twenty-seven years of her life.  Since then, she has lived in the US — first in New York, now in Vermont. Website:


Find out more about the Institute for Immigration Research.