Meet Michael Alenyikov: Winner of the 2013 Gina Berriault Award


Each year, Fourteen Hills has the privilege of honoring one fiction writer whose work embodies the qualities of the late Gina Berriault’s novels and stories, whose every story showcases what the novelist Robert Stone describes as “a world, beautifully illuminated by the life within it […] emotionally precise,” wise and heartbreaking. In other words, the writers who have won the Gina Berriault Award balance art and emotion, and most of all their writing reaches the very center of what it is to be a human being. And Michael Alenyikov, the winner of the 2013 Gina Berriault Award, and his stories are no exception.

With stories that unravel and unfold the idea of family, that highlight the complex nature of love, and that investigate the degree to which the past effects our present and determines our future, Michael Alenyikov has established himself as a writer with unquestionable talent and insight into the human condition. His debut collection of short stories or “novel-in-stories,” Ivan and Misha (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern, 2010), earned the Northern California Book Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction. It has been described as “a haunting collection of love and duty,” “full of warmth, psychological insight, and winning originality.”

While Alenyikov is perhaps best known for Ivan and Misha, he has been pursuing a career in fiction writing since 1994. His short stories have appeared in Canada’s Descant (nominated for a 2007 Pushcart); The Georgia Review; New York Stories; Modern Words; and The James White Review, and have been anthologized in Best Gay Stories, 2008; Best Gay Stories, 2011; and Tartts Four: Incisive Fiction From Emerging Writers. His essays have appeared in the Journal of Homosexuality and The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, and he has participated in such writers’ conferences as the Squaw Valley Writers’ Conference and the Napa Valley Summer Writers’ Conference. He is a former MacDowell Colony Fellow.

A long-time resident of San Francisco, Alenyikov was raised in New York City (the setting of his Ivan and Misha) and studied at Queens College and Syracuse University, earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Besides devoting his time to writing, he has worked as a bookstore clerk, cab driver, clinical psychologist, and interactive media writer and producer.

Come share in the celebration and listen to Alenyikov read a selection of his multi-faceted and moving work at the Gina Berriault Award Ceremony. The ceremony will be held at San Francisco State University’s Poetry Center (1600 Holloway Avenue, Humanities Building, Room 502) on Wednesday, April 17, at 7pm.

Please feel free to RSVP and check out further details on our Fourteen Hills Facebook event page. (link below) We look forward to seeing you.

Fourteen Hills Press is staffed exclusively by graduate students in SFSU's Creative Writing program. We publish the annual Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review and annual chapbooks. Fourteen Hills is committed to publishing the best of original poetry, fiction, literary nonfiction, and cross-genre work created by writers in the US and abroad.

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