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2009 News Releases

Novelist Robert Bausch receives Longwood’s Dos Passos Prize

November 2, 2009

Novelist Robert Bausch Novelist Robert Bausch

Novelist Robert Bausch received the 28th John Dos Passos Prize for Literature from Longwood University on Oct. 29.

Bausch, the author of six critically acclaimed novels and one collection of short stories, has been called a "master storyteller" whose style is "as clean and firm as a new butcher's block." He teaches literature and creative writing at the Woodbridge campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

Among Bausch's novels, A Hole in the Earth was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a Washington Post Favorite Book of the Year, The Gypsy Man was awarded a Fellowship of Southern Writers Award for Fiction, and Out of Season was a Washington Post Favorite Book of the Year. His other novels are The Lives of Riley Chance and On The Way Home. His collection of stories, The White Rooster and Other Stories, was awarded the Dictionary of Literary Biography's prize for the most distinguished fiction for 1995.

Bausch was selected, according to the citation that accompanies the award, for "a rare and beautiful wayfaring imagination, one that has led him to demonstrate a simply astounding fictive range; for his ability as a literary ventriloquist, throwing his voice convincingly into so many different particularly American characters...; for the courage of his storyteller's heart as he creates not only these strikingly different characters but also risking and succeeding in wildly different ways of telling each story...; for his fearless explorations of human failure and guilt as well as the sparkling possibility of forgiveness and redemption; for a body of work both substantive and haunting..."

The Dos Passos Prize, which includes a $2,000 cash award and a medal, is sponsored by Longwood's Department of English and Modern Languages. The Prize is awarded annually to a writer whose works demonstrates one or more of these characteristics: an intense and original exploration of specifically American themes, an experimental quality, and a wide range of literary forms. The first recipient was Graham Greene, and other winners include Tom Wolfe, Shelby Foote, Annie Proulx, and Lee Smith.

Mary Carroll-Hackett, associate professor of English, chaired the committee and the jury for this year's Dos Passos Prize, and the other committee members were Dr. Craig Challender, professor of English, and Dr. Chene Heady, assistant professor of English. The other jurors were last year's winner, Allen Wier, a novelist who teaches at the University of Tennessee and taught at Longwood in 1970-72, and Luke Whisnant, professor English at East Carolina University and author of Watching TV with the Red Chinese.