Spotlight on: Christine Sneed

If you’ve been diligently reading the faculty news bits in Ex Libris this quarter, you’ve probably noticed Christine Sneed’s name come up more than once. Which is why when we rPortraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cryeceived yet another exciting piece of news about her award-winning first book, we decided it was high time to turn the Ex Libris spotlight on our very own Prof. Christine Sneed.

Ploughshares has just announced Christine Sneed as the winner of the twenty-first annual John C. Zacharis First Book Award for her first book, a collection of short stories entitled Portraits of a Fewof the People I’ve Made Cry. The $1,500 award, which is named after Emerson College’s former president, honors the best debut book by a Ploughshares writer, alternating annually between poetry and fiction. From Zacharis Award judge Ladette Randolph:

“Sneed’s Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry is a sophisticated collection. Linked by a common theme of male-female relationships—often sexual, always unbalanced—the stories are mature, beautiful, and devastating testaments to the ways we betray ourselves and each other. No word is out of place, no detail unnecessary. There isn’t a story here that isn’t a gem.”

But you don’t just have to take Ploughshares‘ word for it. In 2009 Portraits was awarded the Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Awards Series. It also received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, was long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the “first fiction” category, and was named one of the “Seven best books of 2010” by Time Out Chicago book editor Jonathan Messinger.

Another story of Sneed’s,  “The First Wife,” was chosen for the 2012 PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories anthology, set for publication in April 2012. The story was originally published in the Winter 2011 issue of New England Review.

What’s next for Christine Sneed? Well for one, she will be teaching Eng 492: “Writing Fiction” at DePaul during the Winter quarter. But in even more exciting news, Bloomsbury Press recently acquired her novel-in-stories, Little Known Facts, which tells the story of a Hollywood actor and his family. Publication is set for Spring of 2013.

You can learn more about Christine Sneed at, and if you see her around the English Department, make sure to congratulate her on her many awards and achievements!


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