CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 29, 1999
UI faculty member, two alumni are among winners of
Whiting Writers Award
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A University of Iowa faculty member
and two alumni are among the 10 winners of the 1999 Whiting Writers
Awards, one of Americas most important honors for emerging writers.
The UI winners are Naomi Iizuka, a visiting faculty member in the Iowa Playwrights
Workshop of the UI department of theatre arts, and Iowa Writers Workshop
alumni Ehud Havazelet and Z.Z. Packer.
Each award this year includes a $35,000 cash prize,
making the Whiting Writers Award one of the most lucrative prizes in
American literature. The 1999 winners were announced during an Oct. 28 ceremony
at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City, where the keynote speaker
was poet Lucille Clifton.
Iizukas plays include "Aloha Say the Pretty
Girls," produced this year at the Humana Festival; "Polaroid Stories,"
winner of the 1998 PEN Center USA West Award for Drama; "Skin";
"Scheherazade"; and "Tattoo Girl." Her collaboration with
Anne Bogart on a play about the life of Orson Welles was recently workshopped
at the UI.
Havazelet, author of the short-story collections "What
Is It Then Between Us?" and "Like Never Before," teaches at
the University of Oregon and in the Warren Wilson College Master of Fine Arts
Program for Writers.
Packer, who was recently published in Harpers
Magazine, has written numerous stories published in periodicals and anthologies.
She lives in San Francisco, where she is currently at work on a novel.
The Whiting Writers Awards, now in its 15th
year, invites nominations from those in contact with young writers of extraordinary
talent. Winners are then chosen by the foundations trustees, on the
recommendation of a selection committee.
The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation was established
in 1963 by Flora E. Whiting with a $10 million bequest. The Whiting Writers
Awards were established in 1985, and past winners include Tony Kushner, August
Wilson, Stanley Crouch, Alice McDermott, Mona Simpson, Iowa native JoAnn Beard
and Michael Cunningham, the UI Writers Workshop alumnus who won the
1999 Pulitizer Prize for fiction.