John Edgar Wideman

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John Edgar Wideman
John-Edgar-Wideman.jpg
Wideman at the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards in 2010
Born (1941-06-14) June 14, 1941 (age 72)
Washington, D.C.
Occupation Professor
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
New College, Oxford
Spouse(s) Judith Ann Goldman (1965–2000)
Children Three

John Edgar Wideman (born June 14, 1941) is an American writer, professor at Brown University,[1] and sits on the contributing editorial board of the literary journal Conjunctions.[2]

Early life[edit]

Wideman was born on June 14, 1941. He grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA and much of his writing is set there, especially in the Homewood neighborhood of the East End. He graduated from Pittsburgh's Peabody High School, then attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he became an All-Ivy League forward on the basketball team. He was the second African-American to win a Rhodes Scholarship (New College, Oxford University, England), graduating in 1966. He also graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

Writing and teaching career[edit]

A widely-celebrated writer and the winner of many literary awards, he is the first to win the International PEN/Faulkner Award twice: in 1984 for Sent for You Yesterday and in 1990 for Philadelphia Fire.[3] In 2000, he won the O. Henry Award for his short story "Weight", published in The Callaloo Journal. Following the publication of the Homewood trilogy, the New York Times proclaimed John Edgar Wideman, "one of America's premier writers of fiction."[4]

He has taught at the University of Wyoming, University of Pennsylvania, where he founded and chaired the African American Studies Department, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst's MFA Program for Poets & Writers. He currently is a professor at Brown University.

Awards[edit]

Wideman has been the recipient of a number of awards for his writing. His 1990 novel Philadelphia Fire: A Novel[5] won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1990, and the American Book Awards in 1991. His nonfiction book Brothers and Keepers received a National Book Critics Circle nomination, and his memoir Fatheralong was a finalist for the National Book Award. In 1997, his novel The Cattle Killing won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction.

Wideman was chosen as winner of the Rea Award for the Short Story in 1998, for outstanding achievement, and won the lifetime achievement award of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards in 2011.[6]

Wideman is also the recipient of a MacArthur genius grant.

Family[edit]

In 1965 he married Judith Ann Goldman, an attorney, with whom he has three children: Daniel, Jacob, and Jamila. That marriage ended in divorce in 2000. In 2004 he married French journalist Catherine Nedonchelle, with whom he resides on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City.

Jacob Wideman,[7] John's middle child, is currently serving a life sentence for a 1986 murder, and was denied parole in May 2011.[8] He was subsequently denied parole in 2012 and again in May 2013. He was again denied parole on 11/12/13.

John Edgar Wideman's daughter Jamila Wideman was formerly a professional basketball player in the Women's National Basketball Association and the Israeli League.

Bibliography[edit]

Wideman at the Miami Book Fair International, 1994

Novels[edit]

Omnibus editions[edit]

  • The Homewood Books (includes Damballah, Hiding Place and Sent for You Yesterday); University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1992; as The Homewood Trilogy, Avon (New York, NY), 1985.
  • A Glance Away, Hurry Home, and The Lynchers: Three Early Novels by John Edgar Wideman, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1994.

Collections[edit]

  • Damballah, (short stories), Avon (New York, NY), 1981. London: Allison & Busby, 1984.
  • Fever (short stories), Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1989.
  • The Stories of John Edgar Wideman, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1992, published as All Stories Are True, Vintage Books (New York, NY), 1993.
  • God's Gym (short stories), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2005.
  • Briefs (micro stories), Lulu Press (Raleigh, NC), 2010.

Memoirs and other[edit]

  • Brothers and Keepers (memoir), Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1984. London: Allison & Busby, 1985.
  • Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers and Sons, Race and Society, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1994.
  • (With Bonnie TuSmith) Conversations with John Edgar Wideman, University Press of Mississippi (Jackson, MS), 1998.
  • Hoop Roots: Basketball, Race, and Love (memoir), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2001.
  • (Editor) My Soul Has Grown Deep: Classics of Early African-American Literature, Running Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.
  • (Editor) 20: The Best of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 2001.
  • The Island: Martinique, National Geographic Directions, (Washington, D.C.), 2003.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Africana Studies: John Edgar Wideman". Brown University. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  2. ^ "About Conjunctions". Conjunctions.com. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  3. ^ "John Edgar Wideman, Author". aalbc.com. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  4. ^ Books, Featured Author: John Edgar Wideman, New York Times, on the Web (accessed Oct 17 2011)
  5. ^ John Edgar Wideman, Philadelphia Fire: A Novel, Holt, NY, January 26 1990, ISBN 978-0-618-50964-5
  6. ^ 76th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize Winners Announced, August 11, 2011
  7. ^ Michael Norman, "To an Author, Violence Comes Again," September 4, 1986, New York Times (accessed Oct 17 2011)
  8. ^ Larry Hendricks, ""Parole denied in famous Flag case," Az Daily Sun, May 18, 2011; Michael Kiefer, "Massachusetts man denied parole for 1986 murder," Tucson Citizen, May 17, 2011 (accessed Oct 17 2011)

Further reading[edit]

  • Jean-Pierre Richard, "John Edgar Wideman: A Bibliography, Primary and Secondary Sources", Callaloo, Volume 22, Number 3, Summer 1999, The Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 750–757. (E-ISSN: 1080-6512 Print ISSN: 0161-2492 doi:10.1353/cal.1999.0130
  • James W. Coleman, Blackness and Modernism: The Literary Career of John Edgar Wideman, Jackson MI: University Press of Mississippi, 1989.
  • Doreatha Drummond Mbalia, John Edgar Wideman: Reclaiming the African Personality, Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press; and London: Associated University Presses, 1995.
  • Ulrich Eschborn, Stories of Survival: John Edgar Wideman’s Representations of History, WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, Trier, 2011.
  • Ulrich Eschborn, "‘To Democratize the Elements of the Historical Record’: An Interview with John Edgar Wideman About History in His Work," Callaloo, Volume 33, Number 4, 2010, The Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 982–998.

External links[edit]