The Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction for 2012 goes to Xhenet Aliu for her manuscript, Domesticated Wild Things. She will receive a $3,000 prize and publication by the University of Nebraska Press.
"There is a sophisticated brand of humor in Alieu's fiction—her stories in Domesticated Wild Things will make you laugh out loud but will not burden you with any sense of guilt that might come from laughing at people,” says Kwame Dawes, editor of Prairie Schooner. “Her affection for her beautifully rendered characters is contagious, making the humor affirming and humanizing. These are entertaining and insightful stories full of surprises and revelations. We are thrilled to publish what will be her debut collection."
Xhenet Aliu hails from Waterbury, Connecticut. Her fiction has appeared in journals such as Glimmer Train, Hobart, and The Barcelona Review, and she has received multiple scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and a grant from The Elizabeth George Foundation. A former secretary, waitress, entertainment journalist, and private investigator, she received her B.A. from Southern Connecticut State University and an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Currently, she lives in Athens, Georgia, after recent stints in Brooklyn, Montana, and Utah. She is of Albanian Muslim and Lithuanian Catholic descent.
“I remember when I was about 20 years old, before I'd ever submitted a story or even heard the term 'literary magazine,' picking up a copy of Prairie Schooner at my local Barnes & Noble and feeling awed that a forum of amazing contemporary writing like this existed,” says Aliu. "I'm even more awed now that my own collection will get to wear Prairie Schooner and the University of Nebraska Press on its cover. I couldn't imagine a better outfit for my book.”