Debut novelist Kathryn Stockett was awarded Georgia's highest literary honor tonight. For her 2009 novel The Help, Stockett received The Townsend Prize for Fiction, an biennial honor for the best novel or short-story collection published in the last two years by a Georgia writer. Stockett joins an admirable group of writers who have won the award since it was conceived in 1981, including Alice Walker and Ha Jin.
Stockett was the perceived favorite for the award. The Help was a runaway commercial success in 2009, selling over a million copies. She was unable to attend the awards ceremony and her mother, Ruth Stockett, accepted the award on her behalf.
The Townsend Prize is accompanied by a silver platter, $3,000, and an invitation to be the writer in residence at Georgia Perimeter College during the Spring 2011 term.
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