2013 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship


Amy Goldman Koss, The Intake Office 
The PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, established in 2001, provides a writer with a measure of financial sustenance in order to make possible an extended period of time to complete a book-length work-in-progress. The fellowship is supported by an endowment fund established by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and confers a prize of $5,000 on the honoree.

2013 Judges

Deborah Heiligman, Angela Johnson, and Julie Anne Peters

From the Judges' Citation

From page one you know you are somewhere else, someplace other: The Intake Office. “There are three kinds of people in this world, Solids, Floats, and Cate.” This is an inside joke between best friends Bea and Quinn, intake officers at the check-in point for teens who have died. There are hundreds of conversations going on at once, and each officer has a specialty: jumpers, gunshot wounds, farm accidents. “The newly dead,” Bea thought, “are truly pathetic.” The afterlife, as Koss imagines it, seems to be a life itself. Or is it? When Quinn disappears, Bea’s quest for her becomes a journey through the afterlife and her inner life as well. She discovers how much she has forgotten, and with the help of a new friend, a boy, discovers a mosaic under a dirty floor. Hidden beauty. With humor and a deft hand, Amy Koss takes her fully realized characters through an original and poignant story, one that we look forward to reading—in this life!

Previous Winners

Graham McNamee, Lori Aurelia Williams, Franny Billingsley, Deborah Wiles, Amanda Jenkins, Barbara Shoup, Diane Les Becquets, Theresa Nelson, Carol Lynch Williams, Pat Schmatz, Lucy Frank, and Sarah Dooley