The University of Minnesota instructor was honored for her novel “Dear Committee Members,” a satire about academia centered on a disgruntled professor and wannabe author burdened with writing recommendation letters for his former students.
“It’s jealousy-inducing to read, with more brilliant laughs per square inch than any book I’ve read in at least five years,” said Sloane Crosley, one of three judges for the prize and author of the New York Times bestseller “I Was Told There’d Be Cake.”
The award is presented by the Thurber House, a nonprofit literary center in Columbus, Ohio and humorist James Thurber’s childhood home. The $5,000 cash prize is supported by the Columbus Arts Council and the Columbus Foundation.
Schumacher said the award is “especially meaningful” to her because although she didn’t especially like reading as a child, her mother read “The Thurber Carnival” (a collection of short stories) to her, and the two “laughed and laughed.” She explained, “I have great affection for James Thurber because of that.”
The two other finalists for the award are also women, Roz Chast for “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” and Annabelle Gurwitch for “I See You Made An Effort: Compliments, Indignities and Survival Stories From the Edge of 50.”
Schumacher’s first novel, “The Body Is Water,” was named a Notable Book of the Year by the American Library Association.
[via The Columbus Dispatch]