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ASU professor is finalist for PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

March 24, 2008

ASU Professor T.M. McNally has been named a finalist for the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

McNally, a professor of English and creative writing in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was cited for his collection of short stories titled “The Gateway: Stories.” He will be honored during the 28th annual PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony May 10 at Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

McNally earned his master of fine arts degree at ASU in 1987 and worked in Europe and other parts of the United States before joining the ASU faculty in 1999.

“Professor McNally’s achievement in being named a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Award is both a recognition of his national reputation in the field of creative writing as well as an indication of the quality of ASU’s creative writing program, a program that works in concert with the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing to bring graduate students in creative writing together with award winning writers,” said Deborah Losse, dean of humanities.

“Professor McNally is known for his natural gift of storytelling and for the conviction of his writing. He and his colleagues continue to be recognized through national and international awards for their achievements,” she said.

McNally is also “a dedicated teacher,” according to Neal Lester, chair of the English department. “Our students benefit immensely from his candor, his eloquence, and his steadfast commitment to training and mentoring the next generation of talented fiction writers,” Lester said.

McNally was one of four finalists cited by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation for work published during the 2007 calendar year. Nearly 350 novels and short story collections by American authors were considered. Submissions came from more than 70 publishing houses, including small and academic presses. The winner was Kate Christensen, for her novel “The Great Man.”

McNally said he did not know “The Gateway: Stories” was being nominated, and was surprised and pleased to learn of the award.

He wrote the stories in “The Gateway” over a 10-year period, beginning in the spring of 1993. The final story, from which the book gets its name, took six to seven months to write.

“I wrote it as a way of saying everything I might possibly say about the nature of the short-story form,” McNally said.

Writer David Shields described the work as “vaultingly ambitious narratives” and “uncommonly dense, complex, and well-made.”

“The Gateway” is the sixth work of fiction written by McNally. He also has written two other books of short fiction and three novels: “Until Your Heart Stops,” a New York Times Notable Book; “Almost Home,” a St. Louis Post-Dispatch Best Book of the Year; and “The Goat Bridge,” a Booklist Editors’ Choice.

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation was founded by writers in 1980, and named for William Faulkner, who used his Nobel Prize funds to create an award for young writers, and PEN, the international writers’ organization. The PEN/Faulkner Award is the largest peer-juried prize for fiction in the United States.

Judith Smith,
Media Relations

Carol Hughes,
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences