English Professor John Edgar Wideman of UMass Amherst Receives O. Henry Award for Best Short Story

AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts English Professor John Edgar Wideman will receive the O. Henry Award for best short story of the year in a ceremony to take place at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on Tuesday Oct. 10. This ceremony will also celebrate the 80th anniversary of the O. Henry Awards and will feature a reading by Wideman and the second- and third-place winners.

The story "Weight" (which originally appeared in Callaloo) was chosen for an O. Henry Award from among thousands of stories published in the U.S. and Canada during the previous year. It was named the best story by a distinguished panel of judges and is also included in the recently published 80th volume of Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards.

Wideman is the author of nearly 20 works of fiction and non-fiction. He has received numerous honorary doctorates and prizes over the years including the Rea Prize for short fiction, the Lannan Award for fiction, the PEN-Faulkner Award for fiction (twice), and a MacArthur Award, commonly referred to as a "genius grant." In addition, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has twice won the Chancellor''s Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the University of Massachusetts. His works have been translated into 11 languages including Italian, Japanese, and Turkish.

Says English department chair Anne Herrington: "The O. Henry Award is yet another sign of what readers of his work already know: John Wideman is an exceptional writer. We are honored and proud that he is a member of the English Department."

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