by Halynna Snyder, Digital Communications Intern
J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing Daniel Wallace is this year’s recipient of the 2019 Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year. Established in 1998, this award is given annually to a “living, nationally recognized Alabama writer who has made a significant lifelong contribution to Alabama letters.” Wallace will receive the award during the Alabama Writers Symposium held in Monroeville, Alabama this April.
In an interview with the Alabama Writers’ Forum, Jay Lamar, Executive Director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, described Wallace’s work as “beautifully crafted, rich, accessible, and so important because they enlarge the human repertoire of identity, love, and expression…It is hard to think of a more appropriate writer to receive the Harper Lee Award.”
After leaving his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, Wallace attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received a degree in English. Despite leaving his hometown, Wallace told the Alabama Writers’ Forum that his “imagination never left Birmingham.” Wallace is the author of six novels and is best known for his book Big Fish, which has been adapted into both a film and a Broadway musical. In addition to his novels, Wallace is the author of a number of acclaimed short stories and essays, like “Ray in Reverse” (2000), “The Watermelon King” (2003), and most recently “Extraordinary Adventures” (2014). His works have been translated into over two dozen different languages and are taught in high schools and colleges across the country. He now directs the creative writing program at UNC-Chapel Hill where he teaches courses on fiction writing.
The Department of English and Comparative Literature extends our congratulations to Professor Wallace for this prestigious honor.