USC Dornsife announces new $20,000 literary prize. Its first winner: Christos Ikonomou

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USC Dornsife, Kenyon College and the Subir and Malini Chowdhury Foundation are launching a new literary prize.

Greek short-story writer Christos Ikonomou will be the first recipient of the Chowdhury Prize in Literature, a $20,000 international award for outstanding midcareer writers.

“His work exists in the space between the public and the private — or more accurately, in a landscape where the public can’t help but intrude upon the private, a zone of the interior and the exterior,” USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences said in a written statement.

“His language is by turns direct and lyrical, with a tactile, physical sense of setting and character. It is remarkable, in every sense of the word.”

Ikonomou, born in Athens in 1970 and currently based there, is the author of four short-story collections: “The Woman on the Rails” (2003), “Something Will Happen, You’ll See” (2010), “Good Will Come From the Sea” (2014) and “The Volcano Daughters” (2017).

The award will be presented at a gala ceremony at USC on April 21, the day before the L.A. Times Festival of Books kicks off with its Book Prizes ceremony. Both Times events will also take place at USC.