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Richard Ford

Richard Ford to Receive 2005 Saint Louis Literary Award


Richard Ford is the author of five novels, Independence Day, Wildlife, The Sportswriter, The Ultimate Good Luck, and A Piece of My Heart and three collections of short stories, Rock Springs, Women with Men and A Multitude of Sins. Ford was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Independence Day, the first book to win both prizes. In 2001 he received the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in short fiction. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

According to Harold Bush, Jr., PhD, and Associate Professor of English at Saint Louis University, Ford writes with a sense of place.

“Movement is central not only to his personal life, but also to many of the works he has written. One might say that Ford’s compulsive movement is a symptom of our postmodern culture, and our simultaneous longing for and resistance to setting down deep roots. He has a longing for home, and this longing occurs in American culture at the end of the twentieth century in which finding home is becoming more and more difficult.”

In addition to his prolific writing career, Mr. Ford has taught writing and literature at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Princeton University and Williams College.

For more information about either the award or the dinner please contact Joan Hecker at 314-520-3564.


Comment by Harold K. Bush, Ph.D, Associate Professor, Department of English, Saint Louis University.

"Richard Ford is a writer well-known for his desire to move around a lot, having lived for long periods in Mississippi, New Orleans, Michigan, California, Montana, New Jersey, Paris, and elsewhere.  Movement is central not only to his personal life but also to many of the works he has written.  One might say that Ford's compulsive movement is a symptom of our postmodern culture, and our simultaneous longing for and resistance to setting down deep roots.

His is a longing for home, and this longing occurs in an American culture at the end of the twentieth century in which finding home is becoming more and more difficult.  His Pulitzer Prize winning novel INDEPENDENCE DAY (1995) is perhaps his greatest expression of this longing.  Frank Bascombe, the protagonist, is a real estate agent whose business involves finding suitable homes for his clients.  The story unfolds over the course of the 3-day holiday in midsummer which celebrates our national independence.  But the moral of the story focuses on the opposite: our need of others, our “dependence” on those that we love.  INDEPENDENCE DAY is the moving portrayal of a middle-aged man's search for home, dependence, and rootedness, all taking place ironically in a culture gone haywire on its commitments to metaphysical free agency, ethical independence, and therapeutic attempts to raise self-esteem."

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