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Ten Writers of Exeptional Promise Each Receive $35,000 Whiting Writers' Award

NEW YORK, OCTOBER 26, 2001 - The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation today named ten
recipients of the 2001 Whiting Writers' Awards. The awards, which are
$35,000 each totaling $350,000, have been given annually since 1985 to
emerging writers of exceptional talent and promise.

The ten recipients come from all areas of the country, from New York and
California, to Missouri and Montana. There are five fiction writers, two
poets, two nonfiction writers, and a playwright. Their works draw on
disparate worlds: that of a remote Montana cattle ranch, a Midwestern Irish
Catholic family, an Austrian village between the World Wars, Kathmandu,
Delhi, the untold lives of Holocaust survivors, urban street life, and
modern love. "These writers are remarkably distinctive in sensibility and
subject matter," said Barbara Bristol, Director of the Writers' Program.
"Most of them have recently published a first book, or soon will, and we
hope this award will help to bring them the recognition they deserve."

Now in its seventeenth year, the program has awarded more than $4.5 million
to 170 poets, fiction and nonfiction writers, and playwrights. Among the
past recipients who have achieved prominence in their field are Jorie
Graham, Mona Simpson, David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, Mary Karr,
Stanley Crouch, Allegra Goodman, Suzan-Lori Parks, Mark Doty, and Colson
Whitehead.

The 2001 recipients were announced at a ceremony at the Pierpont Morgan
Library in New York on Thursday, October 25. Dr. Robert L. Belknap,
President of the Foundation, and Kate Douglas Torrey, a trustee, presented
the ten writers with their awards.

The keynote speaker of the evening was the distinguished poet, Stanley
Kunitz. Born in 1905, Kunitz is the author of many books of poetry,
including Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected, which won the
National Book Award, and Selected Poems, 1928-1958, which won the Pulitzer
Prize. Among his other honors are the Bollingen Prize, a Guggenheim
Foundation fellowship, Harvard's Centennial Medal, and the National Medal of
the Arts. He was America's Poet Laureate in 2000.

The ten writers recognized this year for their outstanding talent and promise are:

Judy Blunt, nonfiction writer. Her memoir, Breaking Clean, will be published in the spring by Knopf. She is also the author of a volume of poetry, Not Quite Stone (University of Montana, 1992). She lives in Missoula, Montana.

 

Joel Brouwer, poet. He is the author of two collections of poems, Exactly What Happened (Purdue University Press, 1999) and Centuries, which will be published by Four Way Books in 2003. He teaches at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

Emily Carter, fiction writer. Her short story collection, Glory Goes and Gets Some, was published by Coffeehouse Press in 2000. She lives in Minneapolis.

Kathleen Finneran, nonfiction writer. Her memoir, set in St. Louis, The Tender Land: A Family Love Story, was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2000. She lives in New York City.

Matthew Klam, fiction writer. His first book, Sam the Cat and Other Stories, was published by Random House in 2000. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Brighde Mullins, playwright. Her plays include Monkey in the Middle, Fire
Eater
, Topographical Eden, Pathological Venus, and Baby Hades, and have been
produced at theaters around the country. She teaches at San Francisco State
University.

Akhil Sharma, fiction writer. His first novel, The Obedient Father, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2000. He lives in New York.

Jason Sommer, poet. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Lifting
the Stone
(Forest Books, London, 1991) and Other People's Troubles
(University of Chicago Press, 1997). He lives in St. Louis.

Samrat Upadhyay, fiction writer. His first collection of stories, Arresting God in Kathmandu, was published by Houghton Mifflin this year. Born and
raised in Nepal, he now lives and teaches in Ohio.

John Wray, fiction writer. His first novel, The Right Hand of Sleep, was
published last spring by Knopf. He lives in Brooklyn.

Whiting Writers' Awards candidates are proposed by nominators from across
the country whose experience and vocations bring them in contact with
individuals of extraordinary talent. Winners are chosen by a selection
committee, a small anonymous group of recognized writers, literary scholars,
and editors, appointed annually by the Foundation. At four meetings over
the course of the year, the selectors discuss the candidates' work and
gradually winnow the list. They then recommend up to ten candidates for
awards to the Foundation's Trustees. The Foundation does not accept
applications or unsolicited nominations.

The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation was established in 1963 by Flora E.
Whiting. In 1972, her unrestricted bequest of over $10 million enabled the
Foundation to establish the Whiting Fellowships in the Humanities for
doctoral candidates in their dissertation year. In the years since, the
Foundation has annually awarded grants to Bryn Mawr, University of Chicago,
Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale to fund these Fellowships
the recipients of which are selected by each institution. The Foundation
created the Whiting Writers' Awards in 1985 under the direction of Gerald
Freund, who organized and led the program until his death in 1997.

2000 Whiting Writers' Awards


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