At last, the official press release.
GW NAMES PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING AUTHOR AS FIRST WANG VISITING PROFESSOR IN CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH LITERATURE
D.C. Resident Edward P. Jones to Teach and Deliver Public Readings in Spring 2009
WASHINGTON – The George Washington University has named Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Washington, D.C., resident Edward P. Jones as the first Wang Visiting Professor in Contemporary English Literature in GW’s Department of English. Jones, who will be in residence at GW during the 2009 spring semester, will teach an advanced creative writing course, lead a literary reading group for undergraduates, and give public readings.
“We are deeply honored to have an author of Edward P. Jones’ caliber share his expertise, art, and experience with our undergraduates and the GW community as a whole,” said Jeffrey J. Cohen, chair of the English department. “Not only is Jones a world-renowned writer, but he also is a part of our own city of Washington, D.C. He is the most celebrated novelist we have had in residence at GW. Studying with him will provide our students an invaluable experience – one that we hope they’ll remember long after they graduate from GW.”
Jones added, “I have always enjoyed teaching and am eager to be in the classroom at GW. I am looking forward to getting to know the English department and the students at GW.”
Jones won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2004 for his novel, The Known World. Set in rural Virginia before the Civil War, the story centers around a plantation where a freed slave has purchased slaves of his own. The Known World is a meditation upon racism, humanity, memory, and the power of art. Jones also is the author of two collections of short stories set in Washington, D.C.: Lost in the City (winner of the 2004 PEN/Hemingway Award) and Aunt Hagar’s Children (2006). Jones also has won numerous other literary prizes as well as a MacArthur Fellowship.
Jones’ visiting professorship was created through a gift by Albert Wang and his family. The gift is one of the largest philanthropic commitments to GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of English. The family gift includes the Wang Visiting Professorship in Contemporary English Literature that will fund Jones’ professorship and the Wang Endowed Fund in English Literature and Literary Studies that will support an annual series of lectures by prominent authors and scholars of English literature and literary studies.
The English department is an active research community of scholars and creative writers who prize excellence in teaching, publication, and service. The department has about 400 undergraduate majors and an award-winning faculty of more than 30 professors. It is nationally recognized for its strengths in both literature and creative writing. Long known for its expertise in African American literature, the department also is renowned for its research and publication in Early Modern and Medieval Studies; ethnic literature, including Asian-American and Jewish texts; 19th-century literature; and creative works. Mr. Jones will join a creative writing faculty that includes Jane Shore, Faye Moskowitz, H. G. Carrillo, and David McAleavey.
Located in the heart of the nation’s capital, The George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in Washington, D.C. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business, and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 130 countries.