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Best New Novelist 

Brigid Pasulka

brigidpasulka.com

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Whitney Young High School teacher Brigid Pasulka spent a year after college in 1994 in Krakow and was charmed enough by the place and the culture to eventually write a very charming book set there. Her debut novel, A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True, published last year by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, interweaves two tales. In one, a young couple—the brave Pigeon and his stunningly beautiful love, Anielica—struggle to keep their life and family together during the World War II occupation by Nazi Germany and then the Soviets. They uproot from their small village in search of a better life in the “fairy-tale city” of Krakow, but Krakow turns out not to be the city of their dreams. In the other tale, their not-so-beautiful granddaughter Beata, nicknamed “Baba Yaga” after a folktale witch, struggles to find her own way in a much-different Krakow 50 years later, where she works as a bar girl and neither communism nor the new capitalism has offered the young people much hope. Pasulka’s novel, which won the 2010 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction, has it all: history, drama, romance, compelling characters, and lots of humor, sometimes of the morbid variety (“What’s the difference between matrimony and the Nazis? In the end, they say the Nazis put you out of your misery”).

Critics' Picks

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Best Fashion Watching

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Best New Musical Group

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Best Michael Jackson Cover

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Best Mustache in a Local Band

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Best Lawn Seat at Ravinia

Green Bay & Lake Cook 847-266-5100
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Best Microscene

No Coast Collective continue

Best Free Movie Series

Cinema/Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center continue

Best Moonlighting Witch

Jackie Hoffman in Whining in the Windy City: Holiday Edition continue

Best Theatrical Hat Trick

Chris Sullivan in The Hairy Ape, The Mystery of Irma Vep, and The Illusion continue

Best New Play

Agon Trilogy continue

Best New Theatrical Form

One Thing, and Everything Else continue

Best Theater History Collection

Chicago Theater Collection at the Harold Washington Library Center continue

Best Puppeteer

Michael Montenegro continue

Best Place to See a Seven-Man Pyramid Cross the High Wire

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Best Variety Show

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Best Improv Group

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Best Stand-up Comedian

A tie between Beth Stelling and Junior Stopka continue

Best Sketch Show

The Best Church of God continue

Best Commentary on Modern Technology by a Choreographer

Julia Rhoads at Lucky Plush Productions continue

Best Under­appreciated Chicago Novel

Bertram Cope's Year by Henry Blake Fuller continue
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)