Author Discovers Prize News in Spam Email Folder

By Dianna Dilworth 

Australian author Helen Garner may be a little too cautious about her email. When she received a note in her junk box from someone at Yale University asking for her phone number so that they could call her with some good news, she left it in the spam folder.

It turns out that the author of This House of Grief, The Spare Room, and Monkey Grip won the prestigious Windham-Campbell literary prize which includes a $150,000 award, but she thought the email was spam.

It wasn’t until her publisher told her the news that she realized that she had won. “The fact that the prize is for nonfiction is the most gratifying part,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald. “Those books took a lot of skin off me, and over the past year, since This House of Grief came out, I concluded that there was something about the book that was not prize-worthy. It is shaming to care whether you win a prize or not, but something infantile is stirred in you.”