John Edgar Wideman Appointed Distinguished Professor By UMass Board Of Trustees

AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts English professor John Edgar Wideman has been appointed a Distinguished Professor by University President William M. Bulger. The appointment was made following approval by the Board of Trustees meeting today in Boston.

A prolific author, Wideman has written nearly 20 works of fiction and non-fiction. His works appear in leading media outlets such as The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Harper''s Magazine, and Esquire, and have been translated into 11 languages including Italian, Japanese, and Turkish. In two different years, two of his books were included on the list of 15 best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review. A recent special issue of the literary journal Callaloo was devoted entirely to his work.

Wideman has established himself as one of the best contemporary prose writers in the English-speaking world, according to UMass Amherst Chancellor David K. Scott and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Cora B. Marrett. "He sets a standard few could meet. The University of Massachusetts benefits from the presence of such an eminent scholar. Indeed, we are fortunate to have him on our faculty," Scott and Marrett said in a letter to Bulger recommending the appointment.

Wideman has been honored with numerous other awards and prizes, including the O. Henry Award for best short story of the year (2000); a Reader''s Digest/Lila Wallace Grant (1999); a MacArthur Fellowship (1993-98); the Rea Prize for short fiction (1998); and the Lannan Literary Fellowship for Fiction (1991).

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).

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received the Chancellor''s Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the University of Massachusetts. Wideman joined the University in 1986 as a full professor.