Sara Van Horn – Beth Lisa Feldman Prize, 2021

“Sasha & the City of Whispers” is a paean to the creative impulse. If a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, then a world in which wonder is suppressed is the hobgoblin of unutterable dullness. Our title character, Sasha, pursues the unexpected in the face of a community’s dogged insistence on control and conformity, which leads to the discovery of a cave. The cave becomes a workshop, where Sasha constructs from discarded objects something strange that somehow comes alive and grows into a thing of magic. The whispers, we learn, can help us find our way toward and into the unknown, where we just might encounter that which is unexpectedly beautiful. With a completed text and one illustration included (with the suggestion of more illustrations to come), the reader can imagine the scope of visual treats that will enrich and complement a text that already figuratively and, in the end, literally takes flight.