Edward P. Jones to be Inaugural Wang Visiting Professor in Contemporary English Literature

The first Wang Visiting Professor in Contemporary English Literature will be Edward P. Jones, an African American author of world fame.

A DC resident, Mr. Jones won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2004 for his stunning novel The Known World. Set in rural Virginia before the Civil War, this vividly imagined and beautifully composed book centers around a plantation where a freed slave has purchased slaves of his own. The Known World is an emotionally wrenching and complex meditation upon racism, humanity, memory, and the power of art. Mr. Jones is also the author two collections of short stories set in Washington DC, Lost in the City (2004, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award) and All Aunt Hagar’s Children (2006). Mr. Jones has been awarded numerous other literary prizes as well as a MacArthur Fellowship.

More information on Jones (including a short but thorough bio) can be found here.

Mr. Jones will be in residence during the spring semester of 2009. He will teach an advanced creative writing course, lead a literary reading group for undergraduates, and give at least one public reading.

Created through the generosity of Albert Wang, the Wang Visiting Professor in Contemporary Literature allows the Department of English in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences to bring to campus a prominent scholar or author for a residency of at least a semester. In honor of our home in Washington, DC, and in recognition of the strengths and mission of GW’s English Department, the emphasis of this author’s work will typically be on literature within a cosmopolitan and international context. Literary achievement of the highest caliber, Edward P. Jones’s work fits this description admirably. We are honored to have him at GW.

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