A&S Alumna Named Finalist for Pulitzer Prize

Relying on her native American roots for her first novel, “Maud’s Line,” University of Kentucky alumna and Lexington businesswoman Margaret Verble has been named a Finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

The Pulitzer Committee described “Maud’s Line” as “A novel whose humble prose seems well-suited to the remote American milieu it so engagingly evokes: the Indian allotments of 1920s Oklahoma.”

“Maud’s Line” is set in 1928, a year after the worst Mississippi River flood in history, a year before the Great Depression, and only a handful of years before the devastating droughts that eventually led to America’s Great Dust Bowl – difficult years for the Cherokee Nation. The story focuses on Maud Nail, a young Cherokee woman yearning for a better life on her ancestral allotment land in eastern Oklahoma.

Although raised in Nashville, Tennessee, as a child Verble often visited extended family members still living on their ancestral lands. She proudly remains an enrolled and voting citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and many of “Maud’s Line” characters and its setting are based on her childhood memories.

“Verble … tells a compelling story peopled with flawed yet sympathetic characters, sharing insights into Cherokee society on the parcels of land allotted to them after the Trail of Tears," reads a Kirkus review.

“Maud’s Line” was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the paperback edition is planned for released in June. Verble has also authored academic publications and television scripts. Her short stories have appeared in various publications, including The Saturday Evening Post and the Arkansas Review.

Verble has a bachelor's degree in English, a master's degree in English Education and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kentucky.

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