MFA faculty member Amy Hempel
has been selected to receive the 22nd annual
PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the art of short fiction. Given in honor of the late Bernard Malamud, who himself taught at Bennington from 1961 to 1984, the award includes participation in the 2009-10 PEN/Faulkner reading series at the Folger Shakespeare Library and a prize of $2,500.
"It is thrilling to receive an award named for Bernard Malamud," Hempel said, "whose stories are as relevant now as they were when he wrote them, tough and beautiful and uncompromising but not didactic."
Hempel's short stories have been widely prized for their innovation of form and distinctive voice. Her collections include Reasons to Live, At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, Tumble Home, and The Dog of the Marriage. Her latest book, The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel, was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, an Ambassador Book Award winner, and named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The New York Times. Hempel has also been honored with an Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and, most recently, the 2008 Rea Award. She has taught in the Bennington Writing Seminars for the past 15 years.