Paul Auster, Novelist and Author of Smoke, to Receive Corrington Award for Literary Excellence

Contact: Lynn Stewart, Centenary News Service
318/869-5120 or 869-5709

The novelist Paul Auster, author of "The New York Trilogy" and the screenplay for the movie "Smoke," will receive the sixth annual John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence and read from his work at Centenary College on Friday, April 19.

The presentation will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the South Dining Hall, Bynum Commons, on the Centenary campus.

Sponsored by the Student Government Association's Forums Committee and the English Department, the event is free and open to the public.

Born in 1947 in Newark, New Jersey, and educated at Columbia University (where he earned the M.A. Degree in 1970), Auster is the youngest author and the first non-Southerner to receive the Corrington Award. Previous recipients have been Eudora Welty, Ernest J. Gaines, James Dickey, Miller Williams, and Lee Smith.

Best known as the author of "The New York Trilogy," Auster began his literary career as a poet. "Disappearances: Selected Poems 1970-1979," the most comprehensive collection of his poetry, appeared in 1988. His first book of prose, "The Invention of Solitude" (1982) was a memoir prompted by the sudden death of his father. "City of Glass," his acclaimed first novel which became the first installment of "The New York Trilogy," was published in 1985.

Like many of his subsequent novels, "City of Glass" is a very readable philosophical work with the suspense plot of a detective novel. The other novels in the trilogy are "Ghosts" (1986) and "The Locked Room" (1987). Five other novels have followed, the most recent being "Mr. Vertigo" (1994).

Auster published "Augie Wren's Christmas Story" in the New York Times on Dec. 25, 1990, and this short story served as the basis for his screenplay for the critically acclaimed 1995 movie "Smoke," which starred William Hurt, Harvey Keitel, Stockard Channning, and Forest Whitaker. "Blue in the Face," a movie for which Auster also penned the script, came out later that year.

Auster, who earned his living early in his career by translating miscellaneous French texts into English, is also the editor of The Random House Book of 20th-Century French Poetry.

The Corrington Award, named for the fiction writer and Centenary graduate who died in 1988, takes the form of a bronze medal designed by the internationally renowned Louisiana sculptor Clyde Connell.

A unique feature of the award is that a book by the recipient serves as a text in all first-year English classes. This semester, students at Centenary are reading "City of Glass."

For further information, contact David Havird, Department of English, 869-5085 or 869-5254.