Professor Al Haley wins Elmer Kelton prize

Posted December 03, 2010

Al Haley, writer-in-residence in the ACU Department of English, has been recognized for his excellence in creative nonfiction writing. His essay "Hemingway Summer Jazz" was chosen as the winner of the Elmer Kelton Prize, awarded annually.

"Hemingway Summer Jazz" is a 4,500-word personal essay on Haley's favorite activity, reading. He will have the opportunity to read the piece at the Angelo State Writer's Conference in February, and it will be published in the next issue of the Concho River Review. Haley also won a cash prize as part of the award.

"Like all writers I spend most of my days laboring in solitude and obscurity. It's nice to know that some people are going to have the opportunity to hear and read my words," says Haley. "This is a chance to convey to anyone who will listen something I feel passionate about: that in this new century of techno blandishments and hyper busy-ness we ought to encourage people not to give up reading books."

The Elmer Kelton Prize is awarded each year in a different genre: fiction, poetry or nonfiction. This year, the call was for original, unpublished creative nonfiction on any subject and in any style. Judges read the manuscripts "blindly" - without the author's name - and chose Haley's as the best of the bunch.

Haley is the published author of Home Ground: Stories of Two Families and the Land and Exotic: A Novel, winner of the John Irving First Novel Award, as well as several poems and short stories. His short stories have been published in publications including The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly.