Tim O’Brien to receive Chancellor's Regional Literary Award

October 19, 2016

Written by Jeff Angileri  

Tim ObrienNovelist and U.S. Army veteran Tim O'Brien is the winner of the 2016 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor's Regional Literary Award.

O'Brien, a Purple Heart recipient who completed a tour of duty from 1969 to 1970 as a foot soldier with the 46th Infantry in Vietnam, will be honored for his body of literary works.

He is best known for "The Things They Carried," a blend of memoir and fictional stories about soldiers' experiences during the Vietnam War.

"From both a literary and historical perspective, the novel is an example of powerful storytelling — a raw, poignant and very vivid account of soldiers' experiences," said UW-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper. "I'm so glad our campus community will have the opportunity to learn from and engage with a writer as talented as Tim O'Brien. As a university that celebrates the service of our veterans and military students, we are deeply honored to welcome him to campus."

Kopper will present the award to O'Brien on Monday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. in the Young Auditorium. The event, which will include a lecture and book signing, is co-sponsored by the College of Letters and Sciences Contemporary Issues Lecture Series.

"I'll be talking about a number of things — the power and importance of stories in our lives, and whatever the students and faculty at UW-Whitewater wish to discuss in what I hope will be a lively dialogue," O'Brien said. "I'm delighted and very, very honored to be selected for this award. As a native Midwesterner who now lives in Texas, I'm also happy to know that I'll be in Wisconsin in early November, a time of year I now miss very much."

O'Brien is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Book Award, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction, the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award, and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships.


Jeff Angileri

Sara Kuhl

About the award

The Chancellor's Regional Literary Award honors a living author who has demonstrated a connection to the Upper Midwest in his or her published works of prose, poetry, nonfiction or drama.

Previous winners:

  • 2006 - C.J. Hribal for "The Company Car"
  • 2007 - A. Manette Ansay for "Vinegar Hill," "Limbo" and "Blue Water"
  • 2008 - Michael Perry for "Population 485" and "Truck: A Love Story" and Jane Hamilton for "A Map of the World" and "The Book of Ruth"
  • 2009 - David Rhodes for "Driftless"
  • 2010 - Agate Nesaule for "A Woman in Amber" and "In Love with Jerzy Kosinski"
  • 2011 - Robert Goolrick for "A Reliable Wife"
  • 2012 - John Hildebrand for "Mapping the Farm: The Chronicles of a Family" and "Reading the River: A Voyage Down the Yukon"
  • 2013 - Alison Townsend for "The Blue Dress" and "Persephone in America"
  • 2014 - Deborah Blum for "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"
  • 2015 - Nickolas Butler for "Shotgun Lovesongs"

Chancellor's Literary Award website >>