Kevin Wilson honored as 2017 Hobson Prize recipient at Chowan University

Kevin Wilson

Chowan University is pleased to announce that author Kevin Wilson, assistant professor of English at Sewanee, is the recipient of the 2017 Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters.

In making the announcement, the Hobson Prize Selection Committee noted that “Wilson’s Tunneling to the Center of the Earth and The Family Fang are the books you hope to find each time you enter a bookstore. The kind of books that completely absorb your imagination, taking you to a magical place that exists only on paper. It is a feeling that reminds you what it was like when you first fell in love with books as a child, when you sought out books that allowed you to escape the life around you.”

Initiated in 1995 by the Hobson Family Foundation of San Francisco, the award serves as a memorial to Mary Frances Hobson (1912-1993), a journalist and poet who was the first woman to receive the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in journalism from the University of North Carolina. Previously honored recipients for the Hobson Prize include Kaye Gibbons, Jill McCorkle, Randall Kenan, G.D. Gearino, Allan Gurganus, Padgett Powell, Sheila Moses, Michael Parker, Lee Smith, and Sharyn McCrumb.

The annual Hobson Prize event brings Chowan University and the community together each spring to celebrate the accomplishments of an author of the South or who writes about the South. The prize will be conferred on Monday, April 3, and Wilson will deliver the Hobson Lecture at Chowan that evening.

Wilson published his novel, The Family Fang, in 2011. Selected by Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program, it is an original and refreshing novel about “a family of artists who live to make others uncomfortable.” Time, Amazon, Kirkus, People, Salon, Esquire, and others named it A Best Book of the Year. The Family Fang was turned into a film in 2015. Starring Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman, it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. 

Wilson’s short stories have appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, One Story, Greensboro Review, Oxford American, Carolina Quarterly, Ecotone, Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. His stories have also been included in New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best in 2005 and 2006. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the KHN Center for the Arts, and served as a visiting faculty for the Yale Writers’ Conference in 2013.

Congratulations to Kevin Wilson, assistant professor of English and coordinator of the Certificate in Creative Writing!