(February 25, 2015)

Amy Hempel to receive Centenary's Corrington Award

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College has named celebrated author Amy Hempel as the 2014-15 recipient of the John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence. The award ceremony, which will feature a reading from the author, is free and open to the public Monday, March 2, at 7:00 p.m. in the Whited Room of Bynum Commons. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Corrington Award presentation.

Amy Hempel
Centenary College has named celebrated author Amy Hempel as the 2014-15 recipient of the John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence. Photo by Vicki Topaz.

Hempel is the author of five collections of short stories, the most recent of which, The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel (2006), was named one of the "10 Best Books of the Year" by the New York Times. Centenary students will be reading The Collected Stories in their introductory and several other English courses this semester.

Other honors of Hempel's include the Rea Award for the Short Story (2008) and the PEN/Malamud Award (2009). A professor in the creative writing program at the University of Florida, Hempel is also the Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at New York University and a senior lecturer at Harvard.

Well known for her love of dogs, she is a founding board member of Morgan's Place, a dog sanctuary in New Milford, CT, and The Deja Foundation in New York City, which "offers direct assistance for care, training, recovery, and rehabilitation to dogs rescued from high-kill shelters."

"It is a serious honor for us to be honoring Amy Hempel," said Professor of English Dr. David Havird. "She's a true original in a genre, the short story, that demands exceptional craft and artistry. You'll never mistake an Amy Hempel story for anyone else's thanks to the distinctive voice—the wit, the sometimes even jokey humor rendered in lovely lapidary sentences. Then there's the typical formal structure composed of verbal mosaics as opposed to a continuous linear plot. It is a voice and form that together convey a life-affirming appreciation of life's ambiguities."

The Corrington Award was named for the novelist and Centenary alumnus John William Corrington '56 (1932-1988). He is best known for his short novel, "Decoration Day." The award recognizes writers who are critical but not necessarily commercial successes whose careers are dedicated to literary excellence and artistic accomplishment. The recipient is presented with a bronze medal, designed by Louisiana sculptor Clyde Connell.

The inaugural recipient of the Corrington Award in 1991 was Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty. Other Corrington medalists include Elizabeth Spencer, James Dickey, Richard Wilbur, Eavan Boland, Michael Longley, Alice McDermott, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Tim O'Brien. The 2013-14 recipient was B. H. Fairchild.

Since 2001, the Attaway family, the Corrington family, and Centenary College's Provost's Office have provided funding for the Corrington Award.