Randall Kenan, an award-winning author and professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been chosen as the 2010-11 Sturm Writer in Residence at West Virginia University.

Kenan will read at 7:30 p.m. Monday (March 7) in the Gold Ballroom in the Mountainlair. In addition to this public reading, Kenan will work with 12 WVU creative writing students for the remainder of the week.

Randall Kenan is the author of “Let the Dead Bury Their Dead,” a collection of short stories published in 1992 by Harcourt, Brace. It was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was among The New York Times Notable Books of 1992. He is also the author of “A Visitation of Spirits,” a novel published by Grove Press in 1989; a young adult biography of James Baldwin published in 1993; and “The Fire This Time,” a work of nonfiction, published in July 2007. He wrote the text for Norman Mauskoff’s book of photographs, “A Time Not Here: The Mississippi Delta” (1997). “Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century” was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1999, and was nominated for the Southern Book Award.

“We are extraordinarily fortunate to have Randall Kenan come to WVU as our Sturm Writer-in-Residence,” said Mark Brazaitis, associate professor of English and the director of the Creative Writing Program. “He is a superb craftsman who writes beautifully in a number of genres. I also understand he is a mesmerizing reader of his work.”

From 1985 to 1989, Kenan worked on the editorial staff of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. In 1989 he began teaching writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. He was the first William Blackburn Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Duke University in the fall of 1994, and the Edourd Morot-Sir Visiting Professor of Creating Writing at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1995. He was the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Memphis, and held the Lehman Brady Professorship at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. He has also taught urban literature at Vassar College.

He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, the John Dos Passos Award and was the 1997 Rome Prize winner from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was awarded the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2005.

Students are selected for the Sturm Workshop on the basis of a campus-wide writing competition. Any student may submit a sample of writing for consideration. Those selected are among the University’s finest creative writers.

The reading, which will be followed by a reception and book signing, is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Mark Brazaitis, director of Creative Writing, at (304) 293-9707. Mark.Brazaitis@mail.wvu.edu.


CONTACT: Rebecca Herod, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
304-293-7405, ext. 5251, Rebecca.Herod@mail.wvu.edu

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