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English Professor Named Carol Houck Smith Scholar at Celebrated Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

By:    Published 10:50 am / August 13, 2009

Adjunct professor of English and author Alan Heathcock

Adjunct professor of English and author Alan Heathcock

Boise State adjunct professor of English Alan Heathcock has been named the 2009 Carol Houck Smith Scholar at the national Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, taking place Aug. 12-23 in Ripton, Vt. More than 1,800 writers applied, with 170 accepted as general attendees and 16 named scholars of fiction, non-fiction or poetry. One of five in the fiction genre, Heathcock’s distinction is named for the late Carol Houck Smith, a legendary editor and champion of short fiction.

Founded in 1926 and sponsored by Middlebury College, Bread Loaf is the oldest writers’ conference in the country and has ties to acclaimed American poet Robert Frost. It was Frost who suggested that the idyllic campus of Middlebury’s graduate school of English and American literature in the Green Mountain National Forest play host to a writers’ conference during the summer. Now in its 84th year, the conference offers participants workshops, lectures and classes with some of the most prominent voices in literature and a chance to connect with peers, agents and editors in the industry.

Heathcock is a 2004 graduate of Boise State’s Master of Fine Arts program in fiction. He has been on the English Department faculty for five years and last year was named its Outstanding Faculty Member. He has published stories in a number of magazines, most notably in Zoetrope: All-Story, VQR, Kenyon Review and Harvard Review. His work has been named to Best American Short Stories’ list of “100 Distinguished Stories” twice, and his story, “Peacekeeper,” was included in the “Best American Mystery Stories” anthology and has been reprinted and translated around the world. In 2006, he received the National Magazine Award in fiction.

The Idaho Commission on the Arts awarded Heathcock a grant in conjunction with his attending Bread Loaf as a fiction scholar. In addition to other conference activities, he will work one-on-one with Luis Alberto Urrea, best-selling author, Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the Kiriyama Prize, the Lannan Literary Award, the Christopher Award and the American Book Award.