Sarah Turmail was selected as the recipient of the Eric Sharp Gateway Fiction Award and the Rebecca Pitts Fiction Award by Indiana University’s School of Liberal Arts in Indianapolis. She was recognized April 23 at the Celebration of Scholarships.
Her submission, “Dead Prophets Drink Tomato Juice,” tells the story of Hannah May Payne, a young woman returning to her home of Washington County, Kentucky, after years of estrangement from her family.
The story gives perspective on the managed insanity of family relations and the realities of daily life for the rural poor and working class.
The judge commented that in Turmail’s story, the storyteller’s primary function is to deliver the reader into a world of her own design and in doing so must exercise confidence and control of the narrative. This command is earned through careful word choice and description that allows the reader to understand the possibilities of this world — possibilities that are both implied and implicit to the story.
Turmail’s second submission, “Delivered,” introduces readers into the gritty world of the Cumberland holler and does so with conviction.
The judge found a deep sense of the world and its desperate characters, and the voice was convincing at every turn.