Pulitzer Prize Winner to Receive Hobson
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward P. Jones is the recipient of the 2016 Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters. 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.
The annual event brings the university and community together each spring to celebrate the accomplishments of an author of the South or who writes about the South. This year the prize will be conferred on Thursday, March 31 at 6:00 p.m. at a dinner in the Chowan Room in Thomas Dining Hall. Following the dinner and conferral, Jones will deliver the Hobson Lecture at 7:30 in Vaughan Auditorium in Robert Marks Hall.
Virginia-born Edward P. Jones is a fiction writer who grew up in the Washington, D.C., area, attending Washington public schools and then Holy Cross College in Worchester, Massachusetts, on scholarship. After his graduation in 1972, he returned to Washington where he worked with Science magazine.
In 1975 he sold his first short story to Essence. He continued to write and publish stories in magazines such as Callahoo, Ploughshares, and The New Yorker while holding various positions and earning his M.F.A. from the University of Virginia.
In 1992 he published Lost in the City, a collection of short stories set in Washington, D.C. Lost in the City won the PEN/ Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction and was short-listed for the National Book Award.
Jones was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2004 for his novel The Known World. One of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, the novel tells the story of black slave owners and the effects of slavery. Jones shows how the institution of slavery affects every citizen in fictional Manchester County, Virginia, and how no character is free from its consequences.
In 2015, the BBC listed The Known World as one of the twelve great novels of the twenty-first century. The novel also earned the International Dublin Literary Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Lannan Literary Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
The year 2004 brought the MacArthur Foundation to Jones’ door. The MacArthur Fellowship, which comes with a substantial five-year stipend, allowed Jones to complete his second set of short stories, All Aunt Hagar’s Children. Published in 2006, it is filled with characters who call Washington, D.C., home. This collection was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award.
Jones resides in Washington, D.C., where he teaches creative writing at George Mason University. He has also held adjunct teaching appointments at the University of Virginia, Princeton University, and the University of Maryland.