As some of you know, By Way of Water won a cool prize in 2001. Dreux and I were on a six-week road trip, and I received notification of the prize via email. I never received the letter that Jayne Ann Phillips wrote about why she chose the work. Today, it came via the generous Andrew Gifford and the Santa Fe Writers Project.
I hope it helps all of us writers and especially us novelists have a little more faith while we toil in the landscape of narrative.
May 25, 2002
Dear Ms. Gullick,
It is a distinct pleasure to write this letter with the news that your outstanding entry, By Way of Water, has been selected as the recipient of the Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Awards 2001 grand prize.
By Way of Water stood out clearly, and with exquisite beauty. In reading your work, I was moved by your voice and your ability as an author. I congratulate you not only on excellence in writing, but on your continuing success. I look forward to seeing By Way of Water on the shelves at the end of the summer and there is no doubt in my mind that you are headed for a strong and exciting career.
The evocative realization of your characters – their voice, how you carry them – brings the reader deep into the world you have created. The pattern and flow of life is represented by the people you have brought to us and the voices you have made. Your clarity of vision let me know immediately that I was in the company of an authentic author.
The Writer’s Project prides itself on seeking out excellence in writing and your award is much deserved. You’re writing possesses a potency that was a pleasure for me to review and judge.
Again, my warmest congratulations on this success. I wish you all the best.
Jayne Anne Phillips