Fort Collins, CO (October 24, 2013) — “Father of Disorder,” an essay by Jessica Wilbanks originally published in Ruminate magazine, was awarded a 2014 Pushcart Prize. Wilbanks’ essay, which won Ruminate’s 2012 VanderMey Creative Nonfiction Award, will be included in the anthology, Pushcart Prize XXXVIII: Best of the Small Presses 2014 Edition, available in stores on November 6, 2013.
The publisher and editor of the Pushcart anthology, Bill Henderson, stated that “there are around 8,000 nominations for the award every year, and to even receive one once is extremely rare.” Writers receiving 2014 Pushcart awards include United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, New York Times bestselling novelist Andre Dubus III, and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Louise Glück.
When selecting “Father of Disorder” for Ruminate magazine’s VanderMey nonfiction award, writer Lesley Leyland Fields wrote, “’Father of Disorder’ presents the inevitable yet mysterious unraveling of a particular family system. The burden of her witness is a haunting and beautiful lament in language I almost want to call ‘perfect.’”
Of her essay, Jessica Wilbanks wrote: “My favorite thing about writing nonfiction is the freedom to draw on all kinds of divergent subject matter to tell a story that’s much larger than simply the story of ‘what happened.’ In “Father of Disorder,” I use thermodynamics, religion, and pop culture as tools to explore questions about my childhood that I’d never quite been able to answer.”
The Pushcart Prize series, published every year since 1976, is the most honored literary project in America. Winner of honors from the National Book Critics Circle, Publishers Weekly, Poets & Writers / Barnes & Noble and others, and acclaimed by readers and reviewers internationally, The Pushcart Prize series continues to be a testament to the flourishing of American fiction, essays, memoirs and poetry in our small, independent presses. Over 700 magazine and small book press editors may make up to six nominations from their year’s publications in poetry, short fiction, and essays.
Jessica Wilbanks is a graduate of the University of Houston’s MFA program in Creative Writing, and her essays have appeared or are upcoming in Ninth Letter, The Tusculum Review, Sojourners, and Puritan. She is an active member of the Houston writing community, has taught writing workshops for Inprint!, Houston’s literary arts organization and Boldface, the annual undergraduate writing conference based at the University of Houston, and also served as Nonfiction Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and the Arts. Ms. Wilbanks is currently at work on a memoir about Pentecostal Christianity.
I will lift you up on eagles wings / And you shall rest with the fawn by the stream, / bathed in the light of the sun, / still and knowing that I am God, / my kingdom shall come / and you shall have your daily bread
This portrait was, by contrast, honest. It contained texture and dimension. Beauty informed by design and ineffable grit. Its splendid composition carried a story of what it felt like to live in a female body—and the contradiction and cultural weight that came along with it.