2017 Hobson Prize Announced
Kevin Wilson is the recipient of the 2017 Mary Frances Hobson Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters.
In making its selection, 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 books as a child, when you sought out books that allowed you to escape the life around you.”
Born and raised in rural Tennessee, Kevin Wilson is a fiction writer known for his sharp, inventive stories that center on families in quirky settings. Wilson attended Vanderbilt University (B.A.) and the University of Florida (M.F.A.), where he studied writing under the tutelage of 2002 Hobson Prize recipient Padgett Powell. In 2009 he published Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, a collection of short stories that have been described as magical, absurd, hilarious, bizarre, poignant, explosive, tender, and unsettling. Tunneling to the Center of the Earth received the Alex Award from the American Library Association and the Shirley Jackson Award. Wilson published his novel, The Family Fang, in 2011. Selected by Barnes & Nobel 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 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.
Wilson continues to reside in rural Tennessee with his wife, Leigh Anne Couch, a poet, and his sons, Griff and Patch, where he is an Assistant Professor of English and Coordinator of the Certificate in Creative Writing at Sewanee: The University of the South.