John Edgar Wideman grew up in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh, where some of his novels and stories take place. A former Rhodes scholar, his work has been widely praised for its vivid and lyrical language, and his reviews and critical articles have appeared in a number of publications. He served as the senior judge for the Drue Heinz Literature Prize in 1992.
The Drue Heinz Literature Prize was established in 1980 to encourage and support the writing and reading of short fiction. Over the past twenty years judges such as Robert Penn Warren, Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, Alice McDermott, and Frank Conroy have selected the best collections from the hundreds submitted annually by up-and-coming writers.
20 represents the best of the best—one story from each of the prize-winning volumes. Chosen by acclaimed author John Edgar Wideman, the selections cover a broad range of inventive and original characters, settings, and emotions, charting the evolution of the short story over the past two decades. One of the most prestigious awards of its kind, the Drue Heinz Literature Prize has helped launch the careers of a score of previously “undiscovered” writers, many of whom have gone on to great critical success.
Past Winners of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize: David Bosworth, Robley Wilson, Jonathan Penner, Randall Silvis, W. D. Wetherell, Rick DeMarinis, Ellen Hunnicutt, Reginald McKnight, Maya Sonenberg, Rick Hillis, Elizabeth Graver, Jane McCafferty, Stewart O’Nan, Jennifer Cornell, Geoffrey Becker, Edith Pearlman, Katherine Vaz, Barbara Croft, Lucy Honig, Adria Bernardi.
The University of Pittsburgh Press in proud to announce publication for the first time in a single hardback edition of John Edgar Wideman’s The Homewood Books. So named because they share characters, events, and locales, these two novels – Hiding Place (1981) and Sent for You Yesterday (1984) – and one collection of short stories – Damballah (1981) – are set in the Homewood section of Pittsburgh, where Wideman was raised.As Wideman writes in his introduction to this edition, the three books “offer a continuous investigation, from many angles, not so much of a physical location, Homewood, . . . but of a culture, a way of seeing and being seen.” Three voices and three perspectives dominate the story narrated in Hiding Place: Bess, who has lost a son to the war, living a hermetic existence of Bruston Hill; tommy, who is fleeing the police for a murder charge he is not guilty of; and Clement, a simple boy who makes deliveries to Bess’s house.Damballah is a powerful collection of interrelated stories spanning a century in Homewood. The tales celebrate a community of people who, in the face of crisis, need, and fear, uphold each other through grace, courage, and dignity.Winner of the 1984 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction and named as one of the fifteen best books of 1983 by the New York Times Book Review, Sent for You Yesterday traces, through its narrator, Doot, the intertwining lives through time of the inhabitants of Homewood – Lucy, Brother Tate, Albert Wilkes, Carl French, and their ancestors and offspring – from the blues-oriented 1920s to the drug-influenced 1970s.