Sindya Bhanoo Wins New American Voices Award

October 13, 2022, Fairfax, VA- Sindya Bhanoo wins the fifth annual Institute for Immigration Research New American Voices Award for her short story collection, Seeking Fortune Elsewhere. Before reading from her collection and accepting the award, including a $5,000 prize, Bhanoo spoke of how immigrant stories are overlooked, and how fiction is a way to put those stories out into the world. 

When choosing Bhanoo as a finalist, judge Christopher Castellani praised her work, saying, “The stories … are both fierce and tender, suffused with longing but also unsparing in their exploration of the dynamics among family members, loved ones, and cultures. Bhanoo is an immensely talented writer who packs deep emotional punches into stories told economically and with elegant restraint.” 

The two other finalists, Daphne Palasi Andreades, author of the novel Brown Girls, and Aamina Ahmad, author of the novel The Return of Faraz Ali, also read from their work. Each received $1,000.  

“What I really admire about the finalists was how unapologetic these works are,” said judge Huan Hsu. “After a while, I didn’t feel like I was reading New American literature or immigrant literature, I was just reading literature. It was wonderful.”

Celebrating its 5th anniversary, the New American Voices Award is a  post-publication book prize that illuminates the complexity of the human experience as told by immigrants, whose work is historically underrepresented in writing and publishing. This year’s award was judged by Patricia Engel, Huan Hsu, and Christopher Castellani. Engel won the 2021 New American Voices Award and joined the ranks of previous winners Hernan Diaz, Melissa Rivero, and Lysley Tenorio.

About us: Fall for the Book is Northern Virginia’s oldest and largest festival of literature and the arts. All events are free and open to the public thanks to the generous support of sponsors including the Fairfax County Public Library, George Mason University, the Fairfax Library Foundation, and the City of Fairfax.  For more information, visit our website:

Sindya Bhanoo with glass book
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