The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference of Middlebury College recently announced that Dr. Ben Stroud, assistant professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, has been selected as the fiction prize winner for the 2012 17th annual Bakeless Literary Publication Prize for his book, Byzantium: Stories.“I am elated, excited, overwhelmed, all of the above,” Stroud said. “I have been working on the stories for seven years, so it feels good to see the book do well.”
To enter the competition, authors submitted books anonymously. The competition consisted of two rounds of readings before the winners were selected. Randall Kenan, author of The New York Times notable book, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, chose Stroud as the winner from a pool of 10 finalists.
The prize consists of having his book-length manuscript published by Graywolf Press, and Stroud will receive a fellowship to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in August 2013.
“I always wanted to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, so for this to be part of the prize is a dream,” Stroud said.
His book is a collection of tales set in far-flung places, from Berlin to Cuba to the Middle East. The stories range in subject from family life to the lives of detectives, inventors and assassins, but often center around characters dealing with disappointment or failure.
“The stories visit different places and times, but they illustrate something common that all people go through,” Stroud said. “Be it at work or in a relationship, people go through disappointment sometime in their lives.”
His stories have appeared in One Story, Electric Literature, Boston Review, Ecotone and Subtropics, among other magazines.
The 2011-12 school year was his first with the UT Department of English Language and Literature.
“I would like to thank The University of Toledo community members for all of the support that they have shown me,” Stroud said.