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Professor wins prestigious Louisiana Writer Award

October 12, 2012

Loyola University New Orleans English professor John Biguenet will receive the top literary award in the state—the Louisiana Writer Award. The award recognizes his many contributions to the state’s literary landscape as a novelist, short story writer, playwright, poet, columnist, translator and essayist. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton will present the award to Biguenet in a ceremony at the Louisiana Book Festival Oct. 27 in Baton Rouge. The event is free and open to the public.

Biguenet, the Robert Hunter Distinguished University Professor at Loyola, will accept the award at the beginning of the Louisiana Book Festival at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be held at the House Chamber on the state capitol grounds. Biguenet will speak about his career following the ceremony and will also be on hand at 11 a.m. for a book signing in the Barnes & Noble Bookselling and Signing Tent. At 4 p.m., Biguenet will be interviewed onstage by former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque.

“It’s obviously a great honor to be included among such distinguished former winners of the Louisiana Writer Award as Ernest Gaines, James Lee Burke, Elmore Leonard and Shirley Ann Grau,” Biguenet said.

Former president of the American Literary Translators Association, Biguenet has published seven books, including his novel “Oyster” and “The Torturer’s Apprentice: Stories.” Biguenet was also a guest columnist for The New York Times, detailing his return to New Orleans after the devastating flooding from the collapse of federal levees and the efforts to rebuild the city.

His play “Rising Water,” about a couple trapped in their attic and then on their rooftop by the flood, was followed by “Shotgun,” set in the months that followed. There have been more than 20 productions and readings of these plays around the country. “Mold,” the final play in his award-winning trilogy, will premiere next spring. His other plays include “The Vulgar Soul,” “Night Train,” and “Broomstick,” which will premiere next year. He was named Big Easy Theatre Person of the Year in 2008.

Biguenet’s other awards include an O. Henry Award for short fiction and a Harper’s Magazine Writing Award. His widely translated writing has also garnered attention worldwide with de Volkskrant in the Netherlands declaring, “Biguenet, it cannot be denied, is a complete master of his genre.” Le Figaro in France described his work as “masterfully written from beginning to end.”

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