The University of Iowa

Three UI Alumni Win 2012 Whiting Writers' Awards

Three University of Iowa alumni are winners of the 2012 Whiting Writers' Awards: Alan Heathcock (BA, UI), Samuel D. Hunter (MFA, Iowa Playwrights Workshop) and Anthony Marra (MFA, Iowa Writers' Workshop). This prestigious, $50,000 award recognizes 10 young writers for their extraordinary talent and promise, and is one of the most coveted prizes for up-and-coming writers.

Alan Heathcock’s stories have been published in Zoetrope, Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly, Storyville, and The Harvard Review. He has won a National Magazine Award in fiction, the GLCA New Writers Award, and has been included in Best American Mystery Stories. His collection, Volt, set in the fictional town of Krafton, was published in 2011 by Graywolf and was a finalist for the Barnes and Noble Discover Prize. A native of Chicago’s South Side, he has a BA from the University of Iowa and Masters degrees from Bowling Green State University and Boise State University, where he now teaches. Mr. Heathcock has had fellowships from the NEA, the Sewanee and Breadloaf Writers’ Conferences, and is currently a Literature Fellow for the State of Idaho.

Samuel D. Hunter’s plays include A Bright New Boise (which earned him a 2011 Obie Award for Playwriting and a 2011 Drama Desk Nomination for Best Play), The Whale (recently seen at the Denver Center, with an upcoming production at Playwrights Horizons in New York), A Permanent Image, Jack’s Precious Moment, Five Genocides, and his most recent play, The Few. He has active commissions from Seattle Rep, South Coast Rep, Manhattan Theater Club, and Lincoln Center. In 2013, he will be a resident playwright at Arena Stage. He is a graduate of NYU, the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Julliard. A native of northern Idaho, Mr. Hunter lives in New York City.

Anthony Marra will publish his debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, in 2013 and his story collection, The Tsar of Love and Techno, in 2014, both with Hogarth. He has studied at Charles University in Prague, at St. Petersburg State University in St. Petersburg, Russia, and has a BA from the University of Southern California and an MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop. He is presently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing at Stanford. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Narrative magazine, the 2011 Pushcart Prize anthology, and the Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012. He now lives in Oakland, California.

The Whiting Writers' Awards have been given annually since 1985 and past recipients include Tobias Wolff, Jeffrey Eugenides, Mary Karr, and UI alumni Michael Cunningham and Kim Edwards -- all winners before they were acclaimed, bestselling authors.

Other recent UI-connected Whiting Award winners include Shane McCrae, Eduardo C. Corral, David Adjmi, Mark Levine, Salvatore Scibona, Charles d'Ambrosio, Yiyun Li, Alexander Chee, Justin Cronin, Michelle Huneven, Kathleen Pierce, ZZ Packer, Lewis Robinson, Denis Johnson, Cate Marvin, and Daniel Alarcón.