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2021 Vermont Book Award

Shanta Lee Gander's GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA has been named a 2021 Vermont Book Award finalist! Congratulations, Shanta!

The finalists, from Vermont Public Radio

Disintegration Loops, by Stephen Cramer
GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues, by Shanta Lee Gander
American Wake, by Kerrin McCadden

The 2021 winners will be announced at the Vermont Book Award celebration, Saturday, April 30th, at 7 p.m. at the VCFA campus in Montpelier. The event is hosted by Vermont Humanities, who will also reveal their choice for Vermont Reads 2022, their one-book community reading program, during the evening.

What does it mean to move away from the shadow of one’s mother, parents, or family in order to come into being within this world? As collective memory within the Black diaspora has been ruptured, GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA time travels by creating and recapturing memory from a fractured past to survive in the present and envision a future. In her first full-length collection GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA:Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues, Shanta Lee Gander navigates between formal and vernacular styles to introduce the reader to a myriad of subjects such as scientific facts that link butterflies to female sexuality and vulnerability; whispers of classical Greek myth; H.P. Lovecraft’s fantastical creature, Cthulhu; and the traces of African mythmaking and telling. Beneath the intensity, longing, seeking, wondering, and the ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ voice that sometimes tussles with sadness, there is a movement of sass and a will that refuses to say that it has been broken. Gander leaves a door ajar in this ongoing conversation of the Black female body that walks the spaces of the individual within a collective; the tensions between inherited and hidden narratives; and the present within a history and future that is still being imagined.


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