University of Pittsburgh
October 4, 2009

Pitt's 2009 Drue Heinz Literature Prize Winner and Judge to Deliver Readings at Awards Ceremony Oct. 14

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Audience members will be immersed in the tales of characters from a foreign land, where centuries-old traditions clash with modern times, as Anne Sanow and Ann Patchett deliver literary readings during the University of Pittsburgh's 2009 Drue Heinz Literature Prize Awards Ceremony, at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14 in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, 650 Schenley Dr., Oakland. The event is part of the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series' 2009-10 season.

Sanow is the 29th recipient of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, one of the nation's most prestigious awards for books of short fiction. The award includes a cash prize of $15,000 and publication of the winning manuscript by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Previous winners include Anthony Varallo, Kirk Nessett, and Todd James Pierce. Patchett continues the Drue Heinz Literature Prize's tradition of notable writers serving as judges.

"The Drue Heinz Literature Prize recognizes and supports writers of short fiction and makes their work available to readers around the world," said Maria Sticco, publicist for the University of Pittsburgh Press. "The annual award ceremony provides a new audience for our winner, Anne Sanow. In addition, it allows us to bring to Pittsburgh acclaimed writer Ann Patchett to read for a local audience."

Sanow received the honor for her short story collection, "Triple Time." The stories are set in Saudi Arabia, where Sanow lived for two years, and are linked by various characters over a 50-year span-from World War II to the mid-1990s.

Sanow describes her book as one of discovery. "My characters are native Saudis and expatriates going about their lives and loves and losses and discovering who they are and where they belong," said Sanow. "My interest as a writer is to try to avoid easy exoticism by working from the inside out, character by character and place by place, so that, somehow, the epic and minute become enmeshed."

Twice a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass., Sanow also has received fellowships and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, the Jentel Artist Residency Program, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her honors and distinctions include the Jack Hodgins Founders' Award for Fiction and a Pushcart Prize Special Mention. She also is a two-time finalist for the Nimrod/Hardman Awards: Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction as well as a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee.

A native of California, Sanow currently lives in Provincetown, where she is an editor and writing instructor. She earned her BA degree in English at George Mason University and an MFA degree at Washington University in St. Louis.

Drue Heinz Judge Ann Patchett is is the author of the novels "The Patron Saint of Liars" (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992), "Taft" (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994 ), "The Magician's Assistant" (Harcourt, 1997), "Bel Canto" (Harper Collins, 2001), and "Run" (Harper Collins, 2007). Patchett's books have been translated into 30 languages and have sold more than a million copies worldwide. Her honors and distinctions include a Guggenheim Fellowship for "The Magician's Assistant," the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the Best Work of Fiction for "Taft," and the Harold D.Vursell Memorial Award from The Academy of Arts and Letters.

Patchett describes "Triple Time" as a profound piece of writing from a sensational young author. "This is the kind of manuscript that reminds me why people become editors and agents, and why writers are willing to judge contests," said Patchett, who chose "Triple Time" from a pool of more than 300 entries. "You hope that among the bad manuscripts and the good ones and the very good ones, one will be great. This book is great."

The 2009-10 Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series season is cosponsored by Pitt's Writing Program, Book Center, University Library System, and University of Pittsburgh Press.

All events in the Writers Series are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jeff Oaks at oaks@pitt.edu or visit www.english.pitt.edu.

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