Rion Scott, who teaches English at Bowie State University in Maryland, received the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award for Debut Fiction at the 2017 PEN Literary Award Ceremony. The award came with a $25,000 prize.
Scott was honored for his collection of short stories entitled Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky, 2016). The stories relate the tales of the residents of the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland, a largely black settlement founded in 1807 after the only successful slave revolt in the United States. The publisher call the stories “raw, edgy, and unrelenting yet infused with forgiveness, redemption, and humor, the stories in this collection explore characters suffering the quiet tragedies of everyday life and fighting for survival.”
Judges for the PEN Literary Awards called the collection “hard, humane stories, free of grandstanding yet full of grace, that loom in the mind long after reading.”
Scott was raised in Silver Spring, Maryland and earned a master of fine arts degree at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.