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I'd put my money on Marilynne Robinson. She's due. (Due being a tricky, delicate concept for this award. Mr. Charyn might need to consider Dixon's (20 books) and Sorrentino's (30 books) also-ran status in past awards and practice his own I'm-just-glad-to-be-nominated grin in the mirror). Anyway, didn't Stanley Fish tell us recently that religion is the new sex--that it's what everyone smart will be talking about? There's a whole lotta religion in that Robinson book.

And yet, I've been wrong pretty much every year since I've known about the award.

But will some fashion designers _please_ take pity on the writers and consider a charity dressing event, particularly for those who do not understand that the reinforced-toe hose with comfy sandals is not, I repeat, not dignified evening wear (again, reference past events for valuable learning lessons). Even in Washington, DC, the city where the shoulder pad will not die. Could we not convince Harry Winston to don the lady nominees with sparkles? Prada suits for the writing gentlemen? Oh, for the likes of the well-dressed writer who makes the rest of us scribblers look like we actually might pull our heads up off the desk every two decades and get out into the sunlight--such as Allan Gurganus and Ann Patchett, class and grace in excellent shoes.

Dan Wickett

I'm pulling for your mid-level choice - Yarbrough has quietly put together a stunning portfolio of work over the past 15 years or so - three great story collections, three great novels and a single limited edition story with rarely a wasted or misplaced word in the bunch.

I agree with Wendi completely - POW is well worth your time, prize winner or not.


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