|Born||February 3, 1972|
Victor LaValle (born February 3, 1972) is an American author who was raised in the Flushing and Rosedale neighborhoods of Queens, New York. He is the author of a short-story collection, Slapboxing with Jesus and three novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine and The Devil in Silver. LaValle writes fiction primarily, though he has also written essays and book reviews for GQ, Essence Magazine, The Fader, and The Washington Post, among others.
Slapboxing with Jesus was published in 1999 by Vintage Books. The eleven interconnected stories deal mostly with the lives of young black and Latino men living in New York in the 1970s and 1980s. The collection went on to receive wide critical praise. It won the author a PEN Open Book Award and the Key to Jamaica, Queens.
The Ecstatic was published in 2002 by Crown Publishing Group. The novel continues the story of Anthony James, a character from LaValle's collection of stories. Anthony is a morbidly obese college dropout who may also be experiencing the first signs of schizophrenia. The novel follows the exploits of his family, who are trying their best to save Anthony, but who might be in need of a little saving themselves. The subject matter is dark, and even shocking, but a gallows humor runs throughout. This book received even wider critical acclaim, earning comparisons to writers such as Ken Kesey, Chester Himes, and John Kennedy Toole. In 2003 the novel was a finalist for both the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.
Big Machine was published in 2009 by Spiegel & Grau. The novel tells the story of Ricky Rice, an ex-junkie survivor of a suicide cult whose life is changed when a mysterious letter arrives summoning him to a remote compound in Vermont. The novel was widely praised upon its release, making many national top ten lists. It also won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel in 2009, as well as the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and an American Book Award in 2010.
The Devil in Silver published by Spiegel & Grau August 21, 2012, is the story of Pepper, a sane man sent for observation to a mental hospital. There he encounters a monster roaming the nighttime halls. He teams up with some of the other inmates to fight the mental confusion of the drugs he is required to take, the staff, and the monster.
Awards and nominations
- 2010-2011 Dutch Foundation for Literature, Writer-in-Residence, Amsterdam
- 2010 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
- 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship
- 2010 American Book Award - Winner
- 2009 Shirley Jackson Award - Winner - Best Novel
- 2009 The Nation Most Valuable Fiction Book of 2009
- 2009 Publishers Weekly 10 Best Books of 2009
- 2009 Washington Post Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2009
- 2009 Los Angeles Times Best Science Fiction of 2009
- 2009 Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction of 2009
- 2006 United States Artists Ford Fellowship
- 2004 Whiting Writers' Award
- 2003 Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, Finalist (The Ecstatic)
- 2003 PEN/Faulkner Award, Finalist (The Ecstatic)
- 2002 PEN/Open Book Award, Winner (Slapboxing with Jesus)
- 2000 Breadloaf Writer's Fellowship
- 1998 Fine Arts Work Center, Fiction Fellow
- Crowder, Courtney. LaValle's "Big Machine" wins Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, 17 November 2010.
- Nichols, John (22 December 2009). "MVPs of 2009". The Nation.
- Personal essay about LaValle's sexual adventures as an obese man.
- Review of Slapboxing with Jesus.
- Review of The Ecstatic.
- Wall Street Journal Review of Big Machine.
- LaValle reviews two story collections for Washington Post.
- Extensive interview about "Narrative Voice" and writing craft.
- Victor LaValle discusses Nobel Laureate Kenzaburo Oe.
- United States Artists Videos