CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Every autumn, the Library of Virginia honors some of the nation’s top writers with its annual Virginia Literary Awards. Previous winners include such noted authors as Richard Bausch, Barbara Kingsolver and Geraldine Brooks. Earlier this month, the Library presented its 2012 Emyl Jenkins Sexton Literary Award for Fiction to another esteemed writer – Austin Peay State University’s 2012-13 Acuff Chair of Excellence recipient David Huddle.
Huddle received the award for his 10th and most recent work of fiction, the novel “Nothing Can Make Me Do This.” At 8 p.m. on Nov. 8, he will read from this novel at the APSU Morgan University Center, Room 303.
Huddle, a two-time National Endowment of the Arts Fellow, is spending a few months in Clarksville this fall and again next spring as the holder of the 2012-13 Acuff Chair of Excellence. In 1985, country music legend Roy Acuff generously endowed the chair at APSU, which brings nationally acclaimed artists to campus each year to work with students and the community.
Huddle is the author of more than 17 books of poetry, fiction and essays, and his work has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times Magazine and the Best American Short Stories. A Publisher’s Weekly review of his debut novel, “The Story of a Million Years,” stated that Huddle’s “view of the human condition brims with wisdom, compassion and a rare grace.”
He previously served as distinguished visiting professor of creative writing at Hollins University, which offers one of the country’s premier Master of Fine Arts programs, in addition to being on the faculty of the famed Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.
Judges for this year’s Emly Jenkins Sexton Literary Award for Fiction commented that Huddle’s novel, “Nothing Can Make Me Do This,” was written with “compelling honesty, humor and grace.” Noted writer Julia Alvarez said the novel “gives us not just a glimpse, but that rare revelatory and redeeming experience of seeing and becoming” the characters in the book, “which is why we read and need novels.”
During the Nov. 8 reading, which is free and open to the public, Huddle also plans to read works from his new poetry collection, “Black Snake at the Family Reunion.”
In the spring semester, he will deliver another reading at APSU from his non-fiction work.
For more information on the reading or this year’s Acuff Chair of Excellence, contact the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts at 221-7876.