Patrick Lawler of the College’s English Department is the winner of the 2013 CNY Book Award in the fiction category for his work, Rescuers of Skydivers Search Among the Clouds.
Written in 2010, Rescuers of Skydivers is a novel that Lawler says uses the “lenses of sadness and surrealism, fantasy and absurdity, levity and lyricism” to present “a family that is both embedded in and hovers over a small town.”
“Though there is a strong sense of story, the novel evolves around images and motifs; it is more like opening a piece of origami – rather than reading,” he says. "It is what Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut and Gabriel Garcia Marquez might have written if they lived in a cellar together and decided to collaborate after listening to a flute song of Kokopelli. (Just kidding, of course. They would also have to have been wearing parachutes.)”
A member of Le Moyne's class of 1976, Lawler teaches Introduction to Playwriting, Advanced Playwriting, Creative Writing for Performance, Scriptwriting, and Creative Writing Workshop at the College. In addition to Rescuers of Skydivers, he is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Underground (Notes Toward an Autobiography) and Trade World Center. Lawler plans to release two more books, a collection of poetry titled Child Sings in the Womb and a selection of short stories titles The Meaning of If, next year. He has been awarded fellowships by the New York State Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. Lawler’s poetry and fiction appear in over 100 journals including American Letters & Commentary, American Poetry Review, and Central Park. His work also includes experimental multimedia pieces, participation in slam competitions, and performance art.
Lawler was among three finalists in the fiction category of the CNY Book Awards, which also honor authors of poetry and nonfiction. The winners were announced during a reception at the La Casita Cultural Center that served as a fundraiser for the YMCA’s Downtown Writers Center.
“I was shocked to have received this award,” he says. “I am grateful to the local community of writers -- those from the Downtown Writers Center, those from Syracuse University, and those current and former students. And I am thankful for my Le Moyne colleagues, particularly David Lloyd and Linda Pennisi.”