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Alumna Meredith May Wins PEN Award in Journalism

Oakland, CA - Micheline Aharonian Marcom, visiting assistant professor, part-time, at Mills College has won the 2005 PEN/USA Award in fiction for her second novel The Daydreaming Boy.  She is currently teaching beginning fiction for Mills students in creative writing and will teach the craft of fiction to graduate students in spring 2006. She graduated from the Mills MFA program in 1999.

Mills alumna Meredith May won the PEN award in journalism for her San Francisco Chronicle series “Operation Lion Heart.” Her powerful four-part narrative focused on the recovery and challenges of a nine-year-old Iraqi boy maimed in an explosion. May has been a reporter for the Chronicle since 1999.

Recipients of the PEN literary awards were chosen by a distinguished panel of writers, editors, and journalists, with Los Angeles Times deputy op-ed editor Susan Brenneman serving as chair of the judges.  Winners were selected from among more than 500 entries; each winner will receive a $1000 cash prize. The awards will be presented at the non-profit membership group's annual Literary Awards Festival Gala Dinner (LitFest), which will be held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on November 9, 2005.

Selected as a San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year (2004), The Daydreaming Boy focuses on the life of Vahé Tcheubjian following the Armenian genocide. According to The San Francisco Chronicle (December 12, 2004), “Tcheubjian and his wife appear to have an idyllic life, soaking up the sophisticated culture that marked the pre-civil war city as the ‘Paris of the Middle East.’ But inside, Tcheubjian is an emotional train wreck, racked by memories of escape from the genocide that killed his family and years endured in a brutal Armenian orphanage. Marcom's seamless, ethereal prose is suffused with raw emotion; there is heartbreak on every page, but also hope.”

Marcom received the Lannan Literary Fellowship in 2004. Her first novel, Three Apples Fell from Heaven, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Foundation for first fiction and received the Columbia University Anahid Literary Award. It was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times and one of the Best Books of 2001 by The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

Marcom was born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 1968 to an American father and an Armenian-Lebanese mother.

Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering innovative degree programs for undergraduate women, and graduate degree and certificate programs for women and men. Consistently ranked among the top 75 liberal arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Mills is also recognized as one of the country’s 20 most diverse colleges. The Princeton Review selected Mills as one of 11 colleges for first-time inclusion in its Best 361 Colleges - 2005. Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California on 135 lush acres, Mills provides a dynamic liberal arts education fostering women’s leadership, social responsibility, and creativity.

Deborah Dallinger
Communications Consultant

Last Updated: 9/26/05