The First Novel Prize is an annual award presented by The Center for Fiction, the only nonprofit literary organization in the U.S. solely dedicated to celebrating fiction.
Created in 2006, The First Novel Prize honors the best debut novel of the year. Debut novels published between January 1 and December 31 of the award year are eligible.
This year, The Center for Fiction awarded the Prize to De’Shawn Charles Winslow for his debut novel, In West Mills, an intimately told story about a woman living by her own rules and the rural community that struggles to understand her.
Azalea “Knot” Centre is determined to live life as she pleases. Let the people of West Mills say what they will; the neighbors’ gossip won’t keep Knot from what she loves best: cheap moonshine, nineteenth-century literature, and the company of men. And yet, Knot is starting to learn that her freedom comes at a high price. Alone in her one-room shack, ostracized from her relatives and cut off from her hometown, Knot turns to her neighbor, Otis Lee Loving, in search of some semblance of family and home. Otis Lee is eager to help. A lifelong fixer, Otis Lee is determined to steer his friends and family away from decisions that will cause them heartache and ridicule. After his failed attempt as a teenager to help his older sister, Otis Lee discovers a possible path to redemption in the chaos Knot brings to his doorstep. But while he’s busy trying to fix Knot’s life, Otis Lee finds himself powerless to repair the many troubles within his own family, as the long-buried secrets of his troubled past begin to come to light.
Reserve a copy of In West Mills in the library catalog.