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Rattawut Lapcharoensap, University of Wyoming MFA Program in Creative Writing Eminent Writer in Residence, is the recipient of a major five-year European literary grant from the Abraham Woursell Foundation. He recently accepted the prize in Vienna, Austria.
"In his last will, Woursell decreed that the University of Vienna should give stipends of $50,000 a year to young authors to enable them to pursue their career without financial difficulties," according to the University of Vienna.
Past winners include writers Robert Schneider, Ted Hughes and N.H. Pritchard.
Author of the best-selling collection "Sightseeing," Lapcharoensap is in his second year in UW's MFA Program in Creative Writing and is supported with the Wyoming Excellence endowment. During his UW residency, Lapcharoensap has taught a graduate fiction workshop, visited university classes and met individually with UW students.
Born in Chicago and raised in Bangkok, Lapcharoensap studied writing at Cornell University and the University of Michigan. "Sightseeing" was selected for the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" program, won the Asian American Literary Award and also was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award.
"'Sightseeing' is as exuberant and effective a story collection as I have read in years," says Alyson Hagy, a UW MFA Program faculty member. "If you combine Rattawut's fiction with his reputation as a generous and curious teacher, and his energetic explorations of several cultures, you come up with a young writer who is a perfect fit for Wyoming's innovative creative writing program."
Lapcharoensap also was awarded $50,000 from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation for writers of exceptional talent and promise in early career. He was among 10 writers nationwide to receive the 2010 Whiting Writers' Awards.
"Lapcharoensap writes with a depth of emotion, of tenderness really, and fluent descriptive detail," said the Whiting selectors. "We like the access he provides to a world we know nothing about . and the way he manages to maintain an edgy tone without being off-putting or overdoing it. He isn't interested in condescending to the reader, as the material might invite him to. And we admire his fidelity to the short form in these stories -- he does not stretch material that should not be stretched."
For more information about the UW Eminent Writer in Residence Program, visit the MFA Web site at www.uwyo.edu/creativewriting or e-mail Beth Loffreda, MFA Program director, at email@example.com.