UMass Amherst English Professor John Edgar Wideman Awarded Honorary Degree by Colby College

May 28, 1998

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AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts English professor John Edgar Wideman was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree at the 177th commencement of Colby College in Waterville, Maine, Sun., May 24. Wideman was honored for his many contributions to literature.

Wideman’s award-winning books include: "The Cattle Killing" (1996), winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction; "Philadelphia Fire" (1990), winner of both the PEN/Faulkner and American Book awards; and "Sent For You Yesterday" (1983), also a winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award. Wideman is also the author of "Fatheralong" (1994); "The Stories of John Edgar Wideman" (1993); "The Homewood Books" (1993); "Fever" (1989); "Brothers and Keepers" (1984); "The Homewood Trilogy" (1984); "Damballah" (1981); "The Lynchers" (1973); "Hurry Home" (1969); and "A Glance Away" (1967).

During his career, Wideman has written numerous short stories and poems which have been published in the North American Review, Callaloo, Seattle Review, Iowa Review, Southern Review, and Esquire. He has also written articles for the Negro Digest, Black World, Gentleman’s Quarterly, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, Vogue, and McCall’s. He is a Rhodes Scholar (1963), and has served as a Phi Beta Kappa lecturer as well as a member of the National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Panel. In 1992,Wideman was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 1993 he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.

Wideman has previously received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University.