The University of South Florida Creative Writing Program announced today that Professor Ira Sukrungruang has won the Bronze Medal for General Nonfiction in the 2014 Florida Book Awards for his collection of essays, Southside Buddhist.
Coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries, the Florida Book Awards is the nation’s most comprehensive state book awards program. The more than 200 submissions for the 2014 awards were read by juries of three members, each nominated from across the state by co-sponsoring organizations. Click here for more winners in other categories.
Sukrungruang, one of our area's most refreshingly unique and in-touch contemporary essayists, has a penchant for encapsulating the first-generation young immigrant experience. He enchanted a crowd at a Story Time birthday-themed event in the CL Space two years ago with one of his humorous pre-pubescent tales, and his latest work is filled with more luminous descriptions of working-class life.
Sukungruang's biographically infused writings reveal what life's like for a Thai boy longing to fit in and figure out his identity in frenetically modern western culture. Essays in Southside Buddhist have appeared in The Briar Cliff Review, Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction, Cold Mountain Review, Indiana Review, Isotope, Juked, Make and several others.