Torture at Guantanamo Theme of This Year’s Keene Prize for Literature

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, a graduate of the James A. Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas at Austin, has won the 2009 Keene Prize for Literature for her play titled “Lidless,” a poetic treatment of the issue of torture at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Keene Prize is one of the world’s largest student literary prizes. Cowhig will receive $50,000 and an additional $50,000 will be divided among three finalists.

Cowhig’s play was chosen out of 58 submissions in drama, poetry and fiction. In the play, a former Guantanamo detainee dying of liver disease journeys to the home of his female interrogator to demand reparation for the damage she wreaked on his body and soul. It recreates the traumatic experience of interrogation and moves toward reconciliation between its protagonists.

Torture at Guantanamo Theme of This Year's Keene Prize for Literature

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, a graduate of the James A. Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas at Austin, has won the 2009 Keene Prize for Literature for her play titled “Lidless,” a poetic treatment of the issue of torture at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Keene Prize is one of the world’s largest student literary prizes. Cowhig will receive $50,000 and an additional $50,000 will be divided among three finalists.

Cowhig’s play was chosen out of 58 submissions in drama, poetry and fiction. In the play, a former Guantanamo detainee dying of liver disease journeys to the home of his female interrogator to demand reparation for the damage she wreaked on his body and soul. It recreates the traumatic experience of interrogation and moves toward reconciliation between its protagonists.

Norman Mailer materials chronicle Apollo 11's trip to the moon 40 years ago

 

Astronaut on the moon with American flag. From NASA photo no. AS11-40-5875

Astronaut on the moon with American flag. From NASA photo no. AS11-40-5875

From the Vietnam War to capital punishment, Norman Mailer engaged the important intellectual and social issues of his time. So it should come as no surprise that Mailer chronicled America’s space program and the 1969 journey of Apollo 11 in a three-part article for LIFE Magazine. Portions of the piece ultimately became Mailer’s book “Of a Fire on the Moon” (Little, Brown, 1970).

As Mailer stated in a letter to Neil Armstrong on February 26, 1970, “I’ve worked as assiduously as any writer I know to portray the space program in its largest not its smallest dimension.” In “Of a Fire on the Moon,” Mailer searches for the moral and philosophical meaning of landing on the moon.

View Mailer’s handwritten manuscripts, research materials, NASA photographs, and notes concerning “Of a Fire on the Moon,” all from Mailer’s archive at the Ransom Center. The collection, which includes materials associated with all of Mailer’s literary projects, whether completed or not, contains more than 1,000 boxes of materials and is available to researchers, students, and the public.

Ransom Center to Focus on Works of Edgar Allan Poe as Part of The Big Read

Collectible cigarette card depicting Edgar Allan Poe, undated.

The Harry Ransom Center has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to host The Big Read in Austin, focusing on Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and poems.

Beginning Sept. 8, the Ransom Center opens the exhibition “From Out That Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe,” commemorating the bicentennial of the birth of Poe, the great American poet, critic and inventor of the detective story.

The Ransom Center’s sponsored Big Read events include a performance hosted by Isaiah Sheffer of “Selected Shorts,” heard on public radio stations across America, a Poe film series featuring “The Fall of the House of Usher” (1928), “The Raven” (1963), “The Pit and Pendulum” (1961), and a performance of “The Tell-Tale Heart.”