Ethan Canin

Ethan Canin

Fellow: Awarded 2010
Field of Study: Fiction

Competition: US & Canada

University of Iowa Writers' Workshop

Ethan Canin is the author of six books of fiction, including the novels America America, Carry Me Across the Water, and For Kings and Planets, and the story collections The Palace Thief and Emperor of the Air, a debut that brought him wide acclaim. That first collection was awarded a Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship (1987), an honor Canin shares with Robert Penn Warren, Elizabeth Bishop, and Philip Roth, among other eminent writers. His second collection, The Palace Thief (1994), a group of four novellas, earned him the California Book Award (1995) and nominations for the International IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award and the PEN West Book Prize. His 2008 novel America America was also nominated for the IMPAC-Dublin prize. Canin’s many short stories have appeared not only in such renowned publications as Ploughshares, The Atlantic, Esquire, The Paris Review, Granta, and The New Yorker, but also in dozens of anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, and The Houghton Mifflin Anthology of Short Fiction. They have also been the source of screenplays for four movies, including The Emperor’s Club, starring Kevin Kline.

Among his other honors are the Henfield-Transatlantic Review Prize (1984), a James Michener Fellowship from the Copernicus Foundation (1986), an Ingram-Merrill Foundation Fellowship (1989), the Lyndhurst Prize (1993-96), the Koret Foundation Israel Fellowship (1996), two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1987, 1996), and inclusion on Granta’s list of “Best of Young American Novelists” (1996) and The New Yorker’s “Twenty Writers for the New Millenium” (1999).

A graduate of Harvard Medical School, Canin, amazingly, wrote many of his stories, as well as his first novel Blue River while completing his medical degree (M.D., 1993) and his internship in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (Certificate, 1994). Subsequently he left medicine and turned entirely to writing and teaching, lecturing during the early 1990s at the University of Michigan, University of Iowa, UC Irvine, and Columbia University, among other places.

Since 1998, he has been on the permanent fiction faculty of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, the premier M.F.A. writing program in the country, where he is now the F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor of English. He is also a former associate director of the Sun Valley Writers Conference and continues to serve as one of its literary advisors.

During his Guggenheim Fellowship term, Ethan Canin plans to complete another collection of short stories.


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