Pulitzer Prize winner Jones reads at Centre
RELEASED: Nov. 10, 2005
DANVILLE, KYEdward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lost in the City and The Known World, appeared at Centre College on Nov. 15 as part of the Humana Lecture series.
Jones' first book, Lost in the City, a collection of short stories dealing with African American lives in Washington, D.C., in the 1960s and 1970s, was nominated for the National Book Award and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for a first work of fiction. Kirkus Reviews called Lost in the City "a skillful, elegiac collection" and Publishers Weekly said, "Depicting characters who strive to preserve fragile bonds of family and community in a violent, tragic world, Jones writes knowingly of their nontraditional ways of caring for one another and themselves."
In 2003 Jones published The Known World, a novel that centers on the unusual phenomenon of blacks who owned black slaves. One of the most highly regarded debut novels of the decade, The Known World won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle award and was nominated for the National Book Award. Jonathan Yardley, the book critic of the Washington Post, called The Known World "the best new work of fiction that has crossed my desk in years" and said that it "affirms that the novel does matter, that it can still speak to us as nothing else can."
Born in Washington, D.C., Jones was raised there by his mother, who could not read or write and who worked as a dishwasher at a French restaurant. Jones was educated in the Washington, D.C., public schools, and recalls that by age 18, he had "lived in 18 different neighborhoods" of the nation's capital. A chance meeting with a Jesuit priest led to a scholarship to Holy Cross College, where he graduated in 1972 with a B.A. In 1981 he received an M.F.A. from the University of Virginia. From 1983 to 2002, he worked for Tax Notes, a trade publication. He has been published in Essence, the Paris Review, Ploughshares, the New Yorker and Callaloo, and has taught creative writing at the University of Virginia, Princeton University, George Mason University and the University of Maryland.In 2004 Jones was selected for the MacArthur Fellows Program, which offers a five-year unrestricted fellowship and a cash prize of $500,000 for "individuals across all ages and fields who show exceptional merit and promise of continued creative work."
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