NEWS/ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

By News Release

PETERBOROUGH — Bauhan Publishing is pleased to announce Kirsti Anne Sandy as the winner of the 2017 Monadnock Essay Collection Prize. Our judge, journalist and essayist Andrew Merton, selected Sandy’s essay collection She Lived, and the Other Girls Died as the winner from among many worthy submissions. The collection will be published with our 2018 fall titles.

Judge Andrew Merton writes: “She Lived, and the Other Girls Died: Essays, is a compelling coming-of-age memoir that opens in the blue-collar city of Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1974, when the six-year-old protagonist, shuffled among various caretakers, first hears the word “Watergate.” It chronicles her adventures, misadventures, shifting perspectives, and gradual loss of innocence during the tumultuous 1970s and ’80s as she moves with her family from Lowell to nearby Andover, Massachusetts—a world away in demographics and values—then five years later to the posh lakeside town of Gilford, New Hampshire, and finally, to an all-women’s Catholic college in Nashua. At each stop the narrator portrays herself as both outsider and insider, struggling to find her place in her school, her town, her world, and introduces us to fascinating characters, among them the girl’s middle-aged, disco-dancing parents; a brilliant, cross-dressing eight-year-old boy who channels Olympic gymnast Nadia Comăneci; the troubled, adulterous eighth-grade English teacher whose hero is Nazi general Erwin Rommel; and the Mustang-driving high school classmate who is dating a 25-year-old married man. These flawed, complex individuals are portrayed unsparingly but with great empathy.

The book ends with a riveting coda, as the narrator, now in her forties, married, with a young child, takes a terminally ill friend on a road trip through Vermont and New Hampshire ending at Santa’s Land, a closed and decaying theme park, before she flashes back to 1977, where a little girl, “…from her bedroom in Lowell, . . . surrounded by the crumbling remains of a glorious planned city of industry and prosperity, will nonetheless be raised to believe that she can do anything, be anything.” The entire manuscript is infused with a generosity of spirit that is most refreshing in these difficult times in which we live.”

Kirsti Anne Sandy teaches creative nonfiction, memoir, and narrative theory at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, where her students inspire and motivate her every day. Her work has appeared in The Boiler, Under the Gum Tree, Natural Bridge, and Split Lip, among other journals, and she was the recipient of the Northern New England Review’s 2017 Raven Prize for Creative Nonfiction. She lives on a hill overlooking the mountains of Vermont with her husband, daughter, and, at last count, twenty-six pets (her daughter counts each fish individually.) She started She Lived, and the Other Girls Died in 1994, when she was a student in Doug Hesse’s and David Foster Wallace’s creative nonfiction workshop. This is her first book.

Finalists in this year’s competition are:

 Baptizing the Dead by Michael Palmer of Forest Park, IL

BLUR & Other Essays by Kerry Muir of Berkeley, CA

Over the River and Stabbed to Death: Essays by Randy Osborne of Atlanta, GA

The Monadnock Essay Collection Prize is awarded to a previously unpublished book-length collection of nonfiction essays. The winner receives $750, publication of their collection, 50 copies of their published book, and distribution with UPNE (University Press of New England). The Prize is in its fledgling years; Kirsti Sandy is the second winner of the Prize, the first being Neil Mathison of Seattle, Washington for his collection Volcano: An A to Z, published in the spring of 2017. “We established this new award due to the popularity of our annual May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize,” says publisher Sarah Bauhan. “The prize expands on our mission to discover and celebrate talented writers from across the country, this time in the genre of nonfiction.”

Updates on submitting for next year’s Monadnock Essay Collection Prize will be posted on Twitter and Facebook @bauhanpub, and on the Bauhan Publishing website (http://www.bauhanpublishing.com/the-monadnock-essay-collection-prize/).

Please send you stories and photos to the Monadnock Beat to Meghan@MonadnockBeat.com.