Every year, the ASAP honors the best book submitted from publications on the contemporary arts in the preceding year.  The winner of the ASAP Book Prize for 2016 is Angela Naimou of Clemson University for Salvage Work: U.S. and Caribbean Literatures amid the Debris of Legal Personhood (Fordham University Press, 2015), which traces the haunting “‘debris’ of legacies of legal personhood across contemporary American and Caribbean literature.” The prize committee called Salvage Work “an unnerving, at times wrenching, and always original first book,” observing that it “sets a high bar politically, ethically, and stylistically for contemporary literary studies.”

This year, the committee also awarded two Honorable Mentions for books that distinguished themselves for “their inventiveness and their incisive engagement with contemporary aesthetics.” J.D. Connor of the University of Southern California won the committee’s admiration for The Studios after the Studios: Neoclassical Hollywood (1970-2010) (Stanford University Press, 2015). This “compelling and beautifully written study of how big-budget studio films are ‘about the studios'” analyzes “the juggernaut of commercial film” in ways that the committee found “both witty and consistently full of intellectual surprise.”

Paul Stephens won an Honorable Mention, too, for The Poetics of Information Overload: From Gertrude Stein to Conceptual Writing (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). The editor with Jenelle Troxell of Convolution, Stephens demonstrated to the committee “how an impassioned authorial voice, a keen eye for social detail, and a generous sensibility can combine to yield a truly memorable readerly experience.” By engaging its “reader in a dialogic encounter with the ubiquity (and, yes, even the banality) of data,” The Poetics of Information Overload identified for the committee “the invisible psychic architecture behind so many contemporary notions of creativity and innovation, both within the field of poetry and within society more broadly.”

To learn more about the prizes, and the process, see here. To learn more about these exiciting books, see here.