2019 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards Brings Fictional Futures to Center Stage

HANOVER, N.H. – October 4, 2019 – Authors that specialize in creating imagined futures through speculative fiction will discuss the art and science of “spec fic” writing at the second annual Neukom Institute Literary Arts Awards presentation.

Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, two influential figures in the world of speculative fiction, will join the 2019 Neukom Awards winners for the event on Wednesday, October 16, at Filene Auditorium in Moore Hall on Dartmouth’s Hanover, N.H. campus.

Jeff VanderMeer is the New York Times bestselling author of “Southern Reach Trilogy” and the NEA Big Reads selection “Borne.” Ann VanderMeer is a Hugo Award-winning editor who has edited several anthologies and discovered dozens of writers.

Peng Shepherd and Audrey Schulman, the winners of the 2019 Neukom Awards for speculative fiction writing, will take part in the discussion on the relevance and reality of spec fic with the VanderMeers.

“Speculative fiction continues to inspire a wide range of creative voices whose extraordinary and imaginative work nudges – or sometimes forces –  us to ponder the near future,” said Dan Rockmore director of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth and creator of the awards program. “That opportunity for reflection and critical thinking is a gift. The celebration of such great artistry through the Neukom Awards is an integral part of the broader liberal arts mission of Dartmouth College.”

Peng Shepherd won the 2019 Neukom Award for a debut book for her novel “The Book of M” (William Morrow, 2018) in which ordinary people in a near-future world are caught in “the Forgetting,” an extraordinary epidemic of memory loss.

Audrey Schulman won Neukom’s open book category for “Theory of Bastards” (Europa Editions, 2018), an exploration of survival and evolution set around a primate reserve research facility in the near future.

“One of the unique qualities of the Neukom Awards includes this wonderful opportunity for dialog and discussion around the winning books,” said Jeff VanderMeer. “Especially at this critical time in our collective history, it’s useful to come together over how speculative fiction can help us find a way to a better future.”

“As an editor, it has been my goal to find and promote the best speculative work out there and present it to the widest audience,” said Ann VanderMeer. “The Neukom awards program is an opportunity for me to discover and shine a bright light onto the past year’s best fiction and share those stories and writers with everyone.”

The speculative fiction awards program serves as part of the Neukom Institute’s mission to explore the possibilities of computational science, including the ways in which computational ideas impact society.

Earlier this year, the 2019 Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for playwriting was awarded to Francisco Mendoza for his play “Machine Learning” at Dartmouth’s VoxFest. A second staged reading will take place during the 2019/2020 season at Northern Stage in White River Junction, Vermont.

The 2019 Neukom Literary Arts Awards presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a reception and book signing to follow. Books will be available for purchase at the event courtesy of the Norwich Bookstore.

For more on the awards program, winners and participants, visit the Neukom Institute awards website at: https://sites.dartmouth.edu/neukominstitutelitawards


Notes for Editors: