Photo by Ted Waddell
Rilla Askew received a 2009 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in a variety of journals, and her story "The Killing Blanket" was selected for Prize Stories 1993: The O. Henry Awards. Askew's first novel, THE MERCY SEAT, was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dublin IMPAC Prize, was a Boston Globe Notable Book, and received the Oklahoma Book Award and the Western Heritage Award in 1998. FIRE IN BEULAH, her novel about the Tulsa Race Riot, received the American Book Award and the Myers Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. She was a 2004 fellow at Civiella Ranieri in Umbertide, Italy, and in 2008 her novel HARPSONG received the Oklahoma Book Award, the Western Heritage Award, the WILLA Award from Women Writing the West, and the Violet Crown Award from the Writers League of Texas. Askew received the 2011 Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. Her new novel KIND OF KIN will be published by Ecco Press in January 2013 and in the UK by Atlantic Books in August.
"Five generations of Rilla Askew's family have occupied southeastern Oklahoma. Celebrating this birthright, she has concocted of it her own Faulknerian kingdom. Askew is writing a mythic cycle, novels and stories that unsettle our view of the West's settling. In a continuous fictional mural populated with hardscrabble souls - credible, noble and flawed - Askew is completing the uncompleted crossing of the plains. Trusting prose that is disciplined, luxuriant and muscular, she is forging a chronicle as humane as it is elemental."
--Allan Gurganus, May 20, 2009, American Academy of Arts and Letters