For Legend of a Suicide/Sukkwan Island:

On 40 “Best Books of the Year” lists.

Prix Medicis Etranger, France, best foreign novel, 2010.

Premi Llibreter, Spain, best foreign novel, 2011.

Le Prix des Lecteurs de L’Express, France, 2010.

California Book Award, 2008.

Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction, 2007.

Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award.

1st place in Fish Stories Best Fiction Contest.

1st prize winner of River City Writing Awards.

Prix du Marais (regional public library prize in France), 2011.

Le Prix des Lecteurs de la Maison du Livre de Rodez (local bookstore prize), 2010.

Le Prix de la Médiathèque de Saint-Genis-les-Ollières.


The Story Prize, longlisted 2008.

Two Pushcart Prize nominations.

2nd place Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society Prize for the novel.


For Caribou Island:

On 24 “Best Books of the Year” lists.

Le Prix de la librairie Nouvelle de Voiron (local bookstore prize), 2011.


Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize (The Center for Fiction, New York), 2011.

Prix du Roman Fnac, France, second place, 2011.

Le Prix Lire & Virgin, France, 2011.

Prix du Festival Lire en Poche de Gradignan, 2013.


International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2013.


For Last Day On Earth: A Portrait of the NIU School Shooter:

AWP Nonfiction Award, 2009.

PEN CENTER USA 2012 Literary Awards finalist in Creative Nonfiction.

National Book Critics Circle 12 best small press books of 2011 (Rigoberto Gonzalez).


For Dirt:

$50,000 St. Francis College Literary Prize, 2013.

Longlisted, 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Finalist, Grand prix de Littérature policière (France), 2013.

On 8 Best Books of the Year lists.


For Goat Mountain:

On 3 Best Books of the Year lists.

Finalist, California Book Award in Fiction 2013.

Longlisted, Chautauqua Prize 2013.


For Bright Air Black:

Longlisted, Grand Prix de Litterature Americaine 2017.


For Halibut On The Moon:

Longlisted, Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize 2020

For a short story, “It’s Not Yours”:

The Sunday Times Short Story Award shortlist (final 5 out of 1,150), 2010.


Guggenheim fellow, 2011.

National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Writing fellow, 2008.

John L’Heureux fellow, Stanford University, 1995-96.

Wallace Stegner fellow, Stanford University, 1994-95.

George Bennet fellow, Philips Exeter Academy, offered but declined, 1994.

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