Balcones Fiction Prize 2011

The Balcones Center for Creative Writing at Austin Community College announces that the $1,500 Balcones Fiction Prize for 2010 has been awarded to Linh Dinh for his novel, Love Like Hate (Seven Stories Press).

Linh Dinh
Linh Dinh

Final judge, filmmaker and ACC Creative Writing professor Luke Garza, chose Love Like Hate out of six finalists. The first annual Balcones Fiction Prize attracted fifty nominations of novels and story collections.

Garza praised the novel for its verisimilitude. “I felt as though I were watching real people in real time,” wrote Garza. “His characters are, at times, a bit outrageous, but always within the realm of believability.”

Dinh’s novel follows characters through modern Vietnam. “Though Vietnam has often been depicted, in films, books and on television, it is nearly always unrecognizable from the Vietnam that I know. Hence, Love Like Hate,” wrote Dinh upon winning the fiction prize.

Dinh was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the U.S. in 1975. While the novel was inspired by Dinh’s two-and-a-half year stay in Vietnam starting in 1999, he says the setting is secondary: “I’m attempting to show how the individual is formed and deformed by the forces of history.”

Linh Dinh is the author of two story collections and five books of poetry. He is currently writing political essays about the decline of the United States. Dinh will visit Austin Community College to read from his book in spring 2012.

The other five Balcones Fiction Prize finalists are:

  • The Book of Harold: the Illegitimate Son of God by Owen Eggerton (Dalton Publishing)
  • Breathing, In Dust by Tim Z. Hernandez (Texas Tech University Press)
  • The Colony by Jillian Weise (Soft Skull Press)
  • Georgic: Stories by Mariko Nagai (BkMk Press)
  • How to Escape from a Leper Colony Tiphanie Yanique (Graywolf Press)