Journal of Experimental Fiction announces 2017 Winner of the Kenneth Patchen Award, Winner for the Innovative Novel!

AURORA, IL—December 4, 2016—The 2017 winner of the Kenneth Patchen Award for the Innovative Novel is Richard Strauss, of London, England, for his novel The Skrat Prize Memorial Anthology.

This year’s judge, novelist Dominic Ward, has said the following in his ecomium for the novel:

Derek Pell wrote, in his encomium as judge of this award last year, of the honour of having been asked to fulfil that role.  I would like to begin my own, as judge of this year’s Patchen Award, by giving the same thanks to a community that has deigned to seek my opinion. 

To the winner: congratulations.

The winning manuscript, as it turned out, was also the very first that I read.  The thing that struck me most that first read was the dedication of the writer to his or her art (his or her as, as protocol dictates, I was not given any of the names of the finalists).  The manuscript was exceptionally well written, technically solid and professionally edited – this is how a submission is done right.  The words – and then sentences, paragraphs and chapters – flowed buoyantly on the ebb of their own rhythm; it is such a rare treat to have a work that sings itself to you.  I did not so much read it as move with it and that is a very fine thing.

Any indications that this was a sensibility still on its way to full awareness could not dissuade me from the ultimate choice: this was the work that had to have the award.  Please know that you have, with this work, a much deserved winner, a book that can and will carry Patchen’s name on its cover earnestly, respectfully and forevermore.

The Skrat Prize Memorial Anthology was chosen as the winner of the Kenneth Patchen Award for the Innovative Novel over many other worthy candidates for the exceptional craft and originality with which it is written as well as for its deep sympathy for the human condition, both qualities epitomized by Kenneth Patchen himself.

Richard Strauss studied English at Oxford, graduating in 2010, then politics at the LSE. He trained as a lawyer and currently works for the UK government. He lives in south east London with his wife. The Skrat Prize Memorial Anthology is his first novel.


After a hiatus, THE KENNETH PATCHEN AWARD was revived in 2012. In the 1990s, The Kenneth Patchen Prize for Literature was a much-coveted prize administered by Pig Iron Press of Youngstown, Ohio, in honor of famous experimental fiction author, proletarian poet, and Ohio native Kenneth Patchen. Beginning in 2012, the Award was reinstituted as the Kenneth Patchen Award for the Innovative Novel, and it honors the most innovative novel submitted during the previous calendar year. Kenneth Patchen is celebrated for being among the greatest innovators of American fiction, incorporating strategies of concretism, asemic writing, digression, and verbal juxtaposition into his writing long before such strategies were popularized during the height of American postmodernist experimentation in the 1970s.  His three great innovative novels, Sleepers Awake, The Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer and The Journal of Albion Moonlight, have long been benchmarks for beats, postmodernists and innovators of all ilks, inspiring younger writers to greater significance and innovation in their own work.

ABOUT JEF:

Founded in 1986, The Journal of Experimental Fiction is the English language’s pre-eminent source for innovative fiction.

PREVIOUS WINNERS OF THE KENNETH PATCHEN AWARD FOR THE INNOVATIVE NOVEL

2016 -- Charles Hood -- Mouth
2015 – Kate Horsley – Between the Legs
2014 – Bob Sawatzki – Return to Circa ‘96
2013 – Moore Bowen – Oppression for the Heaven of It
2012 – Carolyn Chun – How to Break Article Noun

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