WMU News

Professor receives prestigious literary award

October 6, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Adding another laurel to his long list of accomplishments, Stuart Dybek, author and Western Michigan University English professor, was named today as a recipient of a 1998 Lannan Literary Award for fiction and is one of 10 writers who will receive a $75,000 cash award.

Presented by the Lannan Foundation, the literary awards celebrate excellence in fiction, poetry and nonfiction writing. Now marking its tenth year, the awards program recognizes both established and emerging writers who have made significant contributions to English-language literature. Candidates for the annual award are made to the foundation by a network of writers, literary scholars, publishers and editors.

Chicago native Dybek has published two collections of short stories, "The Coast of Chicago" and "Childhood and Other Neighborhoods," as well as a volume of poetry, "Brass Knuckles." In addition, his writing has appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker, Atlantic, Harper's, Paris Review, Antaeus, Poetry and The New York Times.

Dybek is no stranger to literary accolades. Awards he previously has received include a 1995 PEN/Bernard Malamud Prize for excellence in the short story, a 1994 Academy Institute Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Writers Award. He also has received four O. Henry Prizes, including an O. Henry first prize for his story, "Hot Ice."

"Stuart is a writer whose work is recognized by other writers as well as readers, and this award is testimony of that," says Dr. Arnie Johnston, chairperson of WMU's Department of English. He notes that the Lannan award is one of the most prestigious awards for writers in the country. "He works to perfectly hone his writing and doesn't rush with getting things to publication. It is his arts and craftsmanship that has impressed critics, writers and readers."

Dybek, who has been at WMU since 1973, earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Loyola University in Chicago received an MFA degree from the University of Iowa where he won the Academy of American Poets Contest. He has served a residency at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy and is currently on a leave of absence from WMU, teaching as a visiting professor at the University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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