For the past few months, I've been looking forward to watching my professor, Robert Bausch, receive this prestigious award. Today's the day.
And I'm sick. I can't drive the 3.5 hours to Longwood and clap for him as he receives it. I'm really upset about this. But I know it doesn't make a difference in the big picture.
The big picture is that he's receiving a well deserved prize for the masterpieces he's created up to this point in his life. I'm so happy for him - and I'm happy for ME. After all, I get to take a creative writing workshop from this man. He obviously knows his literary stuff.
I'm in my second semester with him and can tell you with certainty that there will be a third.
If you're wondering, the John Dos Passos Prize is awarded each year to the best not well-known American author in the midst of their writing career. The Prize was established by the English Department at Longwood University in 1980 to honor John Dos Passos by appreciating other writers in his name. (John Dos Passos is regarded as one of the best American writers of the 20th century, yet his works were widely overlooked.)
According to Longwood's website on the matter:
Recipients of the prize are American creative writers who have produced a substantial body of significant publication that displays characteristics of John Dos Passos's writing: an intense and original exploration of specifically American themes, an experimental approach to form, and an interest in a wide range of human experiences.If you read Bob's novels, I believe you'll quickly understand why he won this award.
As a matter of fact - I would be willing to bet you've seen his work or at least heard of it... Remember a little movie called Bruce Almighty? (Jim Carey, Jennifer Aniston... Ring a bell yet?) Well, the idea for the movie came straight from Bausch's novel Almighty Me.
My personal favorite of his books is Gypsy Man. But there are plenty of other fantastic pieces to choose from. Here's a list on his website.
I can tell you firsthand that he's a kind and funny man who is not afraid to speak his mind. And I'm the lucky writer who will be back in his class on Tuesday night :)
*Oh and one other kind of cool thing about this... One member of the jury that selected Bob for the award was Luke Whisnant... He was a fiction writing professor of mine during undergrad at East Carolina University. Such a small world - and I've been so lucky to have learned under such great writers!