Today, Longwood University announced that Aleksander Hemon has been named the winner of the 2020 John Dos Passos Prize for Literature. The prize is Longwood University’s premier literary award—the largest literary award of any Virginia college or university; it aims to honor “an underappreciated writer whose work offers incisive, original commentary on American themes, experiments with form and encompasses a range of human experiences.” Previous winners include Rabih Alameddine, Colson Whitehead, and Annie Proulx. A Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton University, Hemon was chosen from an outstanding shortlist of six writers.
“To read Hemon is to survive a strike of lightning,” said Brandon Haffner, assistant professor of English at Longwood and chair of the Dos Passos Prize committee. “It is to be devastated and remade. His writing, whether fiction or nonfiction, hasn’t merely stuck with me; it has changed me, challenged me to see the world anew.”
Hemon is the author of The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man, The Lazarus Project, and Love and Obstacles. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation, the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, the PEN/W. G. Sebald Award, and, most recently, a 2012 USA Fellowship.
He will receive an honorarium and give a virtual reading next spring. Many congrats!