Kevin Birmingham wins the Truman Capote Award - 5. 19. 16

Kevin Birmingham wins the Truman Capote Award


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The Department of English congratulates Kevin Birmingham on receiving the Truman Capote Award, 2016 for his The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses. Each year an individual recipient is selected by an international panel of scholars and writers on behalf of the Truman Capote Estate. The award honors excellence in the field of literary criticism.

Kevin Birmingham received his Ph.D. in English from Harvard in 2009, and was a visiting lecturer in the Department this past semester. He is currently the Humanities 10 Writing Director. The Most Dangerous Book was a New York Times bestseller and the recipient of the 2015 PEN New England Award for Nonfiction.

In The New York Times, reviewer Dwight Garner writes, “The best story that’s told in Mr. Birmingham’s The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses, however, may be that of the arrival of a significant young nonfiction writer.” The Truman Capote Award has never before been given to a writer’s first book.

Past recipients include the inaugural winner, Helen Vendler (The Given and the Made: Strategies of the Poetic Redefinition), Seamus Heaney (Finders Keepers: Selected Prose, 1971-2001), Elaine Scarry (Dreaming by the Book), and Philip Fisher (Still the New World: American Literature in a Culture of Creative Destruction).

Birmingham will accept the award at the University of Iowa in the fall.