The Paul Engle Award

The annual Paul Engle Prize from the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature honors an individual who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts. The prize is sponsored by the City of Coralville.

Paul Engle (October 12, 1908 – March 22, 1991), though best remembered as the long-time director of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and founder of the UI’s International Writing Program, also was a well-regarded poet, playwright, essayist, editor and critic.

The award seeks to recognize a writer, like Engle, who makes an impact on his or her community and the world at large through efforts beyond the page. It also seeks to raise awareness about Engle and his works.

Past recipients: James Alan McPherson, longtime instructor at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Elbow Room; Kwame Dawes, Chancellor Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, and Editor of Prairie Schooner; Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway and Queen of AmericaSara Paretsky the author behind the bestselling Chicago-based V.I. Warshawski mystery series, and Roxane Gay, professor, editor, commentator and author of the short story collection Ayiti, the novel An Untamed State, and the essay collection Bad Feminist.

Alexander Chee has been named the sixth recipient of the Paul Engle Prize, presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization. Chee will receive the prize, which includes a one-of-a-kind work of art and $10,000, during a special ceremony as part of the Iowa City Book Festival on Oct. 12. The event is at 7 p.m. at the Coralville Public Library, and is free and open to the public. The event will include remarks by Chee and a conversation between Chee and Iowa City novelist Garth Greenwell.