Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi Wins 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi has won the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the country’s largest peer-juried prize for novels and short stories. She is honored for her second novel, Call Me Zebra (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018)which follows a young protagonist as she leaves New York and retraces the path she took with her father from Iran to the United States.

Currently, Van der Vliet Oloomi is an assistant professor of English at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. As an academic she specializes in fiction writing, Latin American and Iberian literature, world literature, and literature in translation. She is also the author of the novel Fra Keeler. In 2015, Van der Vliet Oloomi was named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.” She also won a 2015 Whiting Award for her early-career writing accomplishments and potential.

“Winning the PEN/Faulkner Award at such a delicate and trying juncture in our nation’s troubled history is an honor I am infinitely grateful to carry,” said Professor Van der Vliet Oloomi. “It is, for me, a reminder from our mysterious universe that honest writing can allow us to speak humbly with one another, an intimation to love and to listen deeply each time I set pen to paper.”

Van der Vliet Oloomi is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, where she double-majored in creative writing and Latin American studies. She holds a master of fine arts degree in fiction from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

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