We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2022 EastOver Prize for Nonfiction. After careful consideration, the editors of EastOver Press selected two winners from among the many exceptional manuscripts submitted for the prize: George Choundas, for his essay collection Good Things Are Around Us and Good Things Are to Come, and Richard LeBlond, for his essay collection Homesick for Nowhere. Both winners have received an offer of publication to include a $2,000 honorarium.
Of Choundas’ winning manuscript, our editors said, “In the best tradition of essay collections, this manuscript ranges from narratively propulsive stories about the past to thoughtful dives into the author’s consciousness. The essays use the techniques available in contemporary nonfiction to get the vagaries of memory on the page, and in so doing create intimate worlds for a reader’s consideration, challenging the strict boundaries of a more journalistic approach. In each, the skill of the writing invites the reader along as the writer thinks things through with wit and empathy, both for himself and others. And the author does all this while maintaining a sense of humor about the world we live in.”
Choundas is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee with work in over seventy-five publications. His story collection, The Making Sense of Things (FC2), was awarded the Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize, as well as shortlisted for the Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose, the St. Lawrence Book Award for Fiction, and the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. Good Things Are Around Us and Good Things Are to Come is his first essay collection. He has served as an FBI agent, a corporate litigator, a lifeguard, and a cashier at his father’s sandwich shop. He reports that he has never worked as a barber or a forest ranger, the two occupations for which a high school career assessment test revealed he was best suited, and which, he says, if you adjust for scale, are almost the same thing.
Of LeBlond’s winning manuscript, Homesick for Nowhere, our editors said, “This collection ranges across the natural and social worlds to explore ideas of sociability, community, work, and memory. The essays are written with evident compassion for the author’s fellow humans, revealing all he encounters to be the complex characters we are to our friends. We were immediately charmed by the empathy and humility in these essays, and taken with the author’s obvious gift for a concise, meaningful story. This is an exemplary essay collection in the fine tradition of ‘true tales, well-told.’”
LeBlond is a retired field biologist who continues his botanical research and has added writing and photography to the mix. He is inspired by travel, especially in the western U.S., Cape Cod, and eastern Canada. His essays and photographs have appeared in many U.S. and international journals, including Montreal Review, Weber – The Contemporary West, Concis, Lowestoft Chronicle, Trampset, and Still Point Arts Quarterly. His work has been nominated for “Best American Travel Writing” and “Best of the Net.” Homesick for Nowhere is his first essay collection.
We are grateful to all of the writers who submitted manuscripts to the 2022 contest; it was an honor to read your work.
The EastOver Prize for Nonfiction is awarded to outstanding, unpublished works of nonfiction. For more information about the EastOver Prizes, visit eastoverpress.com/prizes.