Raul Palma (Writing) Wins 2021 Don Belton Book Prize (Indiana Review/Indiana University Press)

By Raul Palma, September 7, 2021

Raul Palma's short story collection, In This World of Ultraviolet Light, won the Indiana Review's 2021 Don Belton Prize.  His collection will be published by Indiana University Press. It was selected by guest judge and writer, Anjali Sachdeva. She had this to say of the manuscript:

"Through the lens of Cuban-American identity, In These Worlds of Ultraviolet Light explores the viciousness we often visit upon each other in times of duress, our fumbling attempts at connection, and the moments when love and cruelty become the same thing. The characters range from recent immigrants to Americans of Cuban descent struggling to find cultural grounding, to a worksite manager who can see her employees as nothing more than 'those Spanish-chirping little men.' But while the writing is thoughtful and bold in its interrogation of identity, this is fiction to steal the breath of any reader, from any background. There were passages that had me looking away from the page for a moment as I tried to let my heart catch up to what my brain was reading, and others that had me laughing aloud, at both the characters’ wit and the author’s daring. The writing is nuanced, charged, filled with turns so artfully constructed you can only surrender to each story and let it take you where it wants to go. This book, so full of the characters’ pain, was a pleasure to read, and I offer my congratulations to the author not only on winning the Belton Prize, but on creating a remarkable collection of stories."

Don Belton, for whom the prize is named, is the author of the novel Almost Midnight (Morrow, 1986) and the editor of the anthology Speak My Name: Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream (Beacon, 1996). His short stories have appeared in the African American Literature Forum, Indiana Review, and Breaking Ice: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Short Fiction (Penguin/Viking). Don’s death in 2009 was a great loss to his friends, family, and students, and also to literature. The Don Belton Fiction Reading Period honors his memory and his legacy as a fiction writer.