Prof. Chanelle Benz Nominated for 2020 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel

head and shoulder image of a college professor
(photo by Kim Newmoney)

Assistant Professor of English Chanelle Benz’s novel, The Gone Dead, has been nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel with a prize of $25,000. Finalists will be announced in January 2020.

The PEN America Literary Awards annually honor outstanding voices in literature across diverse genres and confers more than 20 awards, fellowships, grants, and prizes each year. Awards are juried by panels of esteemed award-winning writers, editors, translators, and critics. 

In The Gone Dead (Ecco-HarperCollins Publisher, 2019), a woman returns to Greendale, MS, to the house once owned by her father, who died mysteriously in the woods behind the house. While there, she not only uncovers secrets about her family, but also reveals the town’s wounds.

At Rhodes, Benz teaches fiction writing and topics in women and literature. She also teaches a course on the Mississippi Delta about race, history, and memory. 

Benz is among nine others on the Debut Novel longlist. The full slate of nominees for the 2020 PEN America Literary Awards is extensive. View it here.