We Have a Winner :: The 2018 Big Moose Prize

The final results of the 2018 Big Moose Prize are in! And the winning manuscript is…

The Thirteenth Month by Colin Hamilton

During his twenties, Colin Hamilton published poetry and essays in various journals, as well as a chapbook with the Kent State University Press. He then set that life aside for a while to build a career in public affairs, helping to develop the Minneapolis Central Library, the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, and affordable housing projects for low income artists in New York, New Orleans, Honolulu and elsewhere. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and two sons and works for Public Radio International. The Thirteenth Month is his first novel.

Excerpt from The Thirteenth Month

As someone with a limited loyalty to the truth, I’m often content to tell others what they want to hear if it will make my life easier, so I surprised myself by responding so bluntly, so honestly to the man who had fallen into step with me on the sidewalk in Dar es Salaam. The first part happened to me there repeatedly: I’d be walking along, wondering why the street smelt like a burning tire, hoping I didn’t accidentally make eye contact with a beggar whose legs had been twisted by polio and whose eyes saw straight into my privileged soul, when a stranger would amble up beside me and try to start a conversation by asking if I spoke English or where I was from. This time it was a man who could have stuffed me comfortably inside himself and then eaten a large meal. He asked what I thought about his city. “A filthy dump,” I replied. Although I desperately wanted to believe just the opposite, to claim I had discovered some secret charm within Dar es Salaam, this truth was just too overwhelming. I started to peel away from him by crossing the street.
I assumed that would be that, but I felt him stop behind me, felt his anger simmering – as though it were some physical thing that could reach me across the street and smack me. “Are you always so rude?” he asked, raising his voice so I couldn’t escape it, so that the whole street heard his threat. No, I thought, not always. In fact, I’m generally just the opposite: the kind of young man whom girlfriends’ parents are relieved to meet. But it had already been a very bad week and perhaps I wasn’t quite who I thought I had been.


The Thirteenth Month will be published in November of 2019. To see the full list of the 2018 Big Moose Prize finalists and semi-finalists, click here.