Recognizing writers who celebrate all that makes the Upper Midwest special.
Awarded in the fall, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor's Regional Literary Award honors living authors who demonstrate a regional connection to the Upper Midwest in their published works of prose, poetry, nonfiction or drama.
The award includes a $1,000 honorarium plus expenses to attend the award ceremony at UW-Whitewater. A dinner is held in the author's honor, along with a reading and book signing.
Wisconsin author Nickolas Butler was honored for his novel “Shotgun Lovesongs,” which tells the story of five childhood friends living in and out of a small town in northwest Wisconsin. Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Butler was educated at UW-Madison and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer, Deborah Blum was honored for two books she authored: "The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York" and "Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection." She is the the Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism at UW-Madison.
The first poet to receive the Chancellor's Regional Literary Award was Alison Townsend, a UW- Whitewater professor of languages and literature. Townsend's published work includes "The Blue Dress" and "Persephone in America." Townsend has been on the UW-Whitewater faculty since 1997. She teaches a variety of women's studies, English and writing courses.
Nonfiction author John Hildebrand, a professor of English at UW-Eau Claire, was recognized for "Mapping the Farm: The Chronicles of a Family" and "Reading the River: A Voyage Down the Yukon." Hildebrand joined the English Department at UW-Eau Claire in 1977 and is a professor who specializes in American literature, nonfiction writing and literature and the short story.
New York Times bestselling author Robert Goolrick received the seventh annual Regional Literary Award. Goolrick is author of the novel, “A Reliable Wife” and the memoir, “The End of the World As We Know It.” Before finding success as an author, Goolrick had a career in advertising. He lives in Virginia.
Agate Nesaule, a former UW-Whitewater professor, received the Chancellor’s Regional Literary Award for her memoir, “A Woman in Amber” and her novel, “In Love with Jerzy Kosinski.” Nesaule, a native of Latvia, was a professor in the English and Women’s Studies departments. She retired in 1996.
David Rhodes authored three books in the 1970s but left published writing after a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed. He returned to publication in 2008 with the acclaimed book “Driftless.” Rhodes lives in rural Wisconsin.
Jane Hamilton, winner of two Oprah’s Book Club selections, was honored for a body of published work that includes "The Book of Ruth," "A Map of the World," "Disobedience" and "The Short History of a Prince." She lives and writes in a Wisconsin farmhouse.
Author, humorist and self-proclaimed amateur pig farmer Michael Perry received honors for a body of work that includes "Truck: A Love Story," "Population: 485" and "Off Main Street." Perry lives in New Auburn. He served 12 years in the volunteer fire department there and wrote about his experiences. He became a bestselling author and host of a radio show.
A. Manette Ansay
A. Manette Ansay was honored for a body of work, which includes "Limbo," "Blue Water” and “Vinegar Hill," which was an Oprah’s book Club selection. Ansay grew up in Port Washington and has set stories in eastern Wisconsin. Today she teaches in the MFA program at the University of Miami.
C.J. Hribal, a professor at Marquette University, was the first author to receive the Chancellor's Regional Literary Award. He was recognized for his novel, “The Company Car.” Hribal is a Chicago native who moved to Wisconsin with his family at a young age. He often sets his stories in the state and he lives in Milwaukee.