Creative Writing Awards Ceremony
The 2023 undergraduate and graduate creative writing awards ceremony. Presented in partnership with The UW Program in Creative Writing.
National Book Award Nominee Sarah Thankam Mathews, reading from her debut novel All This Could Be Different, will be the featured reader for the annual UW-Madison Creative Writing Awards Ceremony.All This Could Be Different: Graduating into the long maw of an American recession, Sneha is one of the fortunate ones. She’s moved to Milwaukee for an entry-level corporate job that, grueling as it may be, is the key that unlocks every door: she can pick up the tab at dinner with her new friend Tig, get her college buddy Thom hired alongside her, and send money to her parents back in India. She begins dating women—soon developing a burning crush on Marina, a beguiling and beautiful dancer who always seems just out of reach.
But before long, trouble arrives. Painful secrets rear their heads; jobs go off the rails; evictions loom. Sneha struggles to be truly close and open with anybody, even as her friendships deepen, even as she throws herself headlong into a dizzying romance with Marina. It’s then that Tig begins to draw up a radical solution to their problems, hoping to save them all.
Sarah Thankam Mathews grew up between Oman and India, immigrating to the United States in her late teens. Her work has been published in Best American Short Stories and received fellowships from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In 2020, she founded the mutual aid group Bed-Stuy Strong. All This Could Be Different, Mathews’ debut novel, was named an NYT Editor’s Choice, chosen for Best of 2022 lists, and shortlisted for the Discover Prize, the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and the National Book Award.