Cabell First Novelist Award 2023


Tess Gunty, winner of the 2023 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award for The Rabbit Hutch, gives a reading and participates in a moderated Q&A session about the writing and publishing of her book.

The event is free and open to all and will be held in person but will also be live streamed through Zoom. Registration is required. The in-person location will be James Branch Cabell Library, Room 303, 901 Park Ave., Richmond, Va. 23219. Parking is available for a fee in the West Broad Street, West Main Street and West Cary Street parking decks.

About the Author

Gunty holds an MFA in creative writing from New York University, where she was a Lillian Vernon Fellow. She studied English with a concentration in creative writing at the University of Notre Dame. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Granta, LitHub, Joyland, Freeman’s, the Los Angeles Review of Books and elsewhere. Gunty grew up in South Bend, Indiana, and now lives in Los Angeles.

The Rabbit Hutch is the recipient of the 2022 National Book Award for Fiction, the Barnes and Noble Discover Prize and the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize. It was a finalist for the John Leonard Prize and the British Book Award for Debut Fiction. It was named one of 12 Essential Reads by The New Yorker and a best book of the year by The New York Times, NPR, People, Time, Oprah Daily, LitHub, The Chicago Tribune and Kirkus. The novel has been optioned for film rights by Fremantle and producer Richard Brown.


The Cabell First Novelist Award is presented on behalf of VCU's M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program in partnership with the James Branch Cabell Library Associates and VCU Libraries. Additional Sponsors are the VCU Department of English, and the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences.

For more information please visit our First Novelist web page