Wyoming Arts Council

UW Eminent Writer in Residence Rattawut Lapcharoensap wins Whiting Award

Rattawut Lapcharoensap, an Eminent Writer in Residence in the University of Wyoming’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, recently received a prestigious national award.

Lapcharoensap was awarded $50,000 from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation for writers of exceptional talent and promise in early career. He was among 10 writers nationwide to receive the 2010 Whiting Writers’ Awards. The awards, totaling more than $6 million since 1985, have gone to 260 poets, fiction and non-fiction writers and playwrights.

The recent 10 award recipients were announced at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

“Lapcharoensap writes with a depth of emotion, of tenderness really, and fluent descriptive detail,” said the Whiting selectors. “We like the access he provides to a world we know nothing about … and the way he manages to maintain an edgy tone without being off-putting or overdoing it. He isn’t interested in condescending to the reader, as the material might invite him to. And we admire his fidelity to the short form in these stories — he does not stretch material that should not be stretched.”

Author of of the best-selling collection “Sightseeing,” Lapcharoensap, during his UW residency this semester, is teaching a graduate fiction workshop, visiting university classes and meeting with students. In 2007, Granta, the magazine for new writing, named Lapcharoensap to its list of “Best of Young American Novelists.”

Born in Chicago and raised in Thailand, Lapcharoensap studied writing at Cornell University and the University of Michigan. “Sightseeing” was selected for the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” program, won the Asian American Literary Award and was also short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. Lapcharoensap spent the last year in Thailand researching his first novel, under contract to Grove Press

Whiting Writers’ Awards candidates are proposed by about a 100 anonymous nominators from across the country whose experience and vocations give them knowledge about writers in early career. Winners are chosen by a small anonymous selection committee of recognized writers and editors, appointed annually by the Whiting Foundation.

The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation was established in 1963 by Flora E. Whiting. The foundation created the Whiting Writers’ Awards in 1985.

For more information about the UW Eminent Writer in Residence Program, visit the MFA Web site at www.uwyo.edu/creativewriting or e-mail Beth Loffreda, MFA Program director, at loffreda@uwyo.edu.

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