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Press Release

Jonathan Potts

For immediate release:
April 22, 2003

Carnegie Mellon Professor, Author Hilary Masters Wins American Academy of Arts and Letters Award

PITTSBURGH—Hilary Masters, a professor of English and creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University, has won the prestigious Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is one of eight writers nationwide to win the award this year.

The Academy's 250 members nominate candidates, and a rotating committee of writers selects winners. The members of the 2003 committee were Ann Beattie, Horton Foote, George Plimpton, Robert Pinsky, Elizabeth Spencer and Charles Wright.

"I was really quite delighted of course, but surprised. This award is not something you apply for or fill out forms for. It just happens," Masters said. Masters, the author of 12 books, has taught at Carnegie Mellon since 1983. Prior to coming to Carnegie Mellon, he was a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, and he has been a visiting writer at several universities including Ohio University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

"This award is well-deserved and unusual from many other awards writers receive. It is not based on a single submission but on the estimation of Hilary's peers on the body of writing he has produced," said David Kaufer, head of the Department of English at Carnegie Mellon.

Masters' books include eight novels and two short story collections. He also has written a memoir, "Last Stands: Notes from Memory" and a collection of essays, "In Montaigne's Tower." Masters will receive his award May 21 in New York City. It carries a $7,500 prize.

"I'm really very pleased that this has happened to my work and I'm really quite honored that it has come from other writers, and that they have recognized my work. I'm glad it has happened while I'm at Carnegie Mellon, which has supported me these 20 years," Masters said.


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