John Gardner Fiction Book Award

2020 John Gardner Fiction Book Award Winner

Monique Truong for The Sweetest Fruits from Viking Books

Judge: Lisa Coll Nicolaou

“This captivating novel is told through the voices of the women who influenced the legendary Lafcadio Hearn, a Greece-born writer who grew up in Dublin, spent his adulthood in the U.S., and ultimately moved to Japan to become a chronicler of the country's folklore. The globe-trotting writer is remembered by the women whose influence has not been remembered by the history book: His mother, a Greek islander who married a British soldier; his wife, born into slavery in the U.S.; and the samurai's daughter who becomes the mother to his four children. The Sweetest Fruits features a mesmerizing combination of history and fiction, coupled with a story of love and loss. This moving story gives voice to the voiceless and leaves an indelible mark. To read this lush and engaging tale is to cross over into another world, as Hearn did over and over himself. The novel offers an unforgettable and moving experience.”

Gardner Award Finalists for 2020 (in alphabetical order):

The Other’s Gold by Elizabeth Ames (Viking)
On Division by Goldie Goldbloom (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken (Ecco/Harper Collins)
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (Ecco/Harper Collins)