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Pulitzer Prize-Winning Writer Jeffrey Eugenides Joins Princeton Faculty

September 18, 2007

In another sign of Princeton University’s expanding commitment to the arts, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jeffrey Eugenides has been named professor of creative writing in the University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. Eugenides’ most recent novel Middlesex (2002) won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Already translated into 34 languages, Middlesex is presently on the New York Times Best Seller list. Eugenides’ first novel, The Virgin Suicides (1993) also gained critical and popular acclaim and was adapted for the screen in 1999 by Sofia Coppola. It has been translated into 30 languages.

Along with the Pulitzer Prize, Middlesex was awarded the WELT-Literatur Preis (Germany), 2003; the Ambassador Book Award, 2003; and the Santiago de Compostela Literary Prize (Spain) 2004. Middlesex was also short listed for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Prix Medicis (France) and the IMPAC Literary Award (Ireland) in 2003.

Eugenides is the recipient of numerous awards including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Berliner Kunstlerprogramm of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst and the American Academy in Berlin. He received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting in 1986. Eugenides was honored with the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction and with a Whiting Writer’s Award.

In addition to book reviews and literary essays, Eugenides’ fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, Best American Short Stories, The Gettysburg Review and Granta’s “Best of Young American Novelists.”

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Eugenides attended Grosse Pointe’s prestigious University Liggett School and holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in English from Brown University and a Master’s of Arts in English/Creative Writing from Stanford University. He taught English at Stanford University in 1986 and was a lecturer in Creative Writing at Princeton from 1999 to 2000. Eugenides and his wife and daughter reside in Princeton.

Eugenides is among a long list of award-winning faculty in Princeton’s renowned Program in Creative Writing at the University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. The program offers undergraduate students the unique opportunity to pursue original work in fiction, poetry and translation under the guidance of some of the world’s best-known writers. Among the many distinguished writers on the program’s faculty are Toni Morrison, Paul Muldoon, C.K. Williams, Edmund White, Joyce Carol Oates, Chang-rae Lee, director of Creative Writing Program who is currently on sabbatical and James Richardson, acting director for 2007-08. The Creative Writing Program plays an integral role in the University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts.

“We're thrilled to have Jeffrey Eugenides join our permanent faculty," Muldoon said in welcoming Eugenides. "He's quite simply the finest writer of his generation and we look forward to allowing Princeton students to be the beneficiaries of his extraordinary talent as a teacher.”

Muldoon, the Howard Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton, is chair of the University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and a Princeton faculty member since 1990, Muldoon is a distinguished scholar and artist hailed as the leader for the arts at Princeton. Muldoon directed the Creative Writing Program at Princeton from 1993 – 2002. His 2006 appointment as the founding chair of the Center was enthusiastically welcomed in artistic and literary circles far and wide.

“I've just been reading Bellow's "Humboldt's Gift," Eugenides said when asked to make a comment about rejoining the Creative Writing faculty at Princeton. "He (Bellows) describes Princeton in the 50s, 'Between squalid Trenton and noisy Newark, it was a sanctuary, a zoo, a spa, with its own choo-choo and elms and lovely green cages.' I don't know if it's a zoo. I haven't been here long enough to tell. If it is, that'll be OK by me. It definitely feels like a literary sanctuary, though, full of wonderful writers like Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Muldoon and Chang-rae Lee whom I’m thrilled to be joining. Princeton has always had a great tradition of writers teaching in the university. It was one of the first places to make that commitment in a real way, and with the new establishment of the Center, art at Princeton appears to be flourishing."

Media Contact

Marguerite d’Aprile-Smith
Director of Communications, Lewis Center for the Arts

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Writer Jeffrey Eugenides

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