2016 Maurice Prize in Fiction


The English Department at the University of California, Davis, and New York Times best-selling novelist John Lescroart are pleased to announce the winner of the 12th annual Maurice Prize in Fiction.

The winner of this year’s Maurice Prize for Fiction is Megan Cummins for her novel manuscript Beasts, and she will receive a prize of $5000.

Judge Bich Minh Nguyen writes, "I might say that Beasts, as a novel in stories, questions and upends the idea of what makes a novel, a set of stories, or a novel in stories. What binds Beasts is not necessarily continuity or character or narrative but the searching, even relentless investigation into spaces of heartbreak, longing, loneliness, and thwarted desire.

"The tension created in these spaces is riveting: a woman discovering that her husband has been secretly racking up credit card debt in her name; a man who manages the consequences of affairs; two people stuck inside an apartment during a blizzard, facing long-ago wrongs that can never be undone; and so much more.

"Many of these stories are set in upstate Michigan and Newark, landscapes that become locations of desolation and protection. The characters are wonderfully complicated, their long histories implied through deft descriptions, the kind of insight and precision one reads for. I look forward to reading whatever else this writer has in store for us."

Nguyen chose a runner up, as well: Julialicia Case, for The Internet Loves You, noting that “The commentary on our screen culture—including texts, computers, Snapchat, video games—is delivered through complexly drawn characters, tense situations, and depictions of how we live within a constant flow of subtle and overt violence. This is a timely and well-written manuscript."

For more information about judge Bich Minh Nguyen, please visit http://www.bichminhnguyen.com 

About the Maurice

Previous Winners