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Bard College Writer in Residence Teju Cole Wins 2012 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award

Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
 Image Credit: Teju Cole
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard College writer in residence Teju Cole has won the 2012 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction for Open City. Patrick Hemingway, the son of Nobel Prize–winning writer Ernest Hemingway, will present the prestigious literary award to Cole on Sunday, April 1, at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

“Written in a deceptively quiet voice, Teju Cole’s remarkable and penetrating debut novel achieves what Kafka said art should; it chops the frozen sea within us,” said novelist and Hemingway Foundation/PEN award judge Andre Dubus III. In addition to Dubus, writers Sigrid Nunez and Edith Pearlman were judges for this year’s Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.

Teju Cole will receive a $10,000 prize from the Hemingway Foundation and PEN New England, as well as a residency in The Distinguished Visiting Writers Series at the University of Idaho’s MFA Program in Creative Writing. Cole and competition finalists and honorable mentions receive Ucross Residency Fellowships at the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, a retreat for artists and writers. The late Mary Hemingway, the wife of Ernest Hemingway, founded the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in 1976 to honor her husband and draw attention to first books of fiction. Past recipients of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award include Edward P. Jones, Marilynne Robinson, Ha Jin, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

Teju Cole is a writer, art historian, and street photographer. Born in the United States in 1975 to Nigerian parents, he was raised in Nigeria and currently lives in Brooklyn. Besides Open City (Random House, 2011), Cole is the author of a novella, Every Day Is for the Thief (Cassava Republic Press, 2007). His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Qarrtsiluni, Chimurenga, New Yorker, Transition, Tin House, and A Public Space, among other publications. He is currently at work on Water Has No Enemy, a nonfiction narrative of Lagos, and on Small Fates. He received his B.A. in studio art and art history from Kalamazoo College in Michigan; his M.A. in African art history from the University of London; and his M.Phil. in 16th-century northern European visual culture from Columbia University, where he is working on his Ph.D. He has taught art history and literature at Hofstra University, New York University, and Columbia University. He has received a Rudolf Wittkower Fellowship and Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities (awarded by the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation), and has been interviewed for the documentary film, Wole Soyinka: Child of the Forest.




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This event was last updated on 03-16-2012