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SF State faculty wins prestigious Lannan Literary Fellowship



Denize Springer
SF State Office of Public Affairs & Publications
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Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications


Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Peter Orner is the only fiction writer among five distinguished fellowship winners

SAN FRANCISCO November 9, 2006 -- Fiction author Peter Orner, a San Francisco State University assistant professor of creative writing, is one of five writers to win a 2006 Lannan Literary Fellowship. The fellowships, awarded by the Los Angeles-based Lannan Foundation, honor both established and emerging writers of distinctive literary merit who demonstrate potential for continued outstanding work.

Orner is the only fiction writer awarded a Lannan Literary Fellowship this year. The other fellowship winners are Elizabeth Kolbert, a staff writer for The New Yorker; Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and senior fellow at The Nation; Charles C. Mann, a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and the journal Science; and award-winning poet, Brian Turner. Candidates for the Lannan Fellowships are recommended to the Foundation by a network of writers, literary scholars, publishers and editors who serve anonymously.

"I'm humbled -- and totally surprised," Orner said.

A native of Chicago, Orner has also received the Pushcart Prize, the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review and Best American Stories. He is currently enjoying rave reviews for his second book of fiction, 'The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo,' published earlier this year by Little, Brown. The Boston Globe wrote; "With this staggering debut novel, Orner has joined the first rank of American writers." The innovatively constructed novel is set in Namibia in the early 1990s after the country’s long-fought war for independence from South Africa.

"I'm gratified that a novel about a small country in Africa seems to be resonating with people, though the terrain might be unfamiliar to readers," said Orner who has lived in southern Africa. "I wanted to write something to show how totally unique the people in this part of the world are – unique and ordinary, like us all."

"We are proud that Peter is a member of our faculty," said SF State Creative Writing Department Chair, Maxine Chernoff. "He's a great writer, a great guy and our students love his classes."

SF State is the only master's-level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The University enrolls about 29,000 students each year and graduates about 7,000 annually. The creative writing department is internationally recognized. Alumni include Ernest Gaines, Frances Mayes, Michael McClure and Anne Rice.


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Last modified November 9, 2006, by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications