Tina Hall Awarded Prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize

Tina May Hall
Tina May Hall
Assistant Professor of English Tina May Hall has been named the 2010 winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, one of the nation’ s most prestigious awards for a book of short stories. Hall’ s manuscript, The Physics of Imaginary Objects, was selected from a field of nearly 350 entries by esteemed author and film critic Renata Adler. The book will be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press this fall.

Drue Heinz, widow of H.J. Heinz, sponsors the competition, which began in 1981.

"This is a remarkable collection,” Adler said of Hall's work. “I am struck in particular by the range of imagination and the prose. The power, insistence, occasional humor, and frequent beauty of the author’s voice carry the reader as surely as conventional fiction used to.” 

Dean of Faculty Joseph Urgo noted "Hamilton College has a dynamic creative writing program – marked recently by the decision to expand the name of the department to 'English and Creative Writing.'  The Heinz Prize brings external recognition to something we’ve known, something our students know, something we’re more than happy to share with the world, that writing of all forms is thriving at Hamilton, in particular among our creative writing faculty, and more specifically as manifested by Professor Tina Hall’s rich imagination. 

"The College is proud to host the development of such a fine career in the literary arts, and to share that career with our students," Urgo said.
Catherine Gunther Kodat, chair of Hamilton's English and Creative Writing Department, added, "It's wonderfully gratifying to have this public acknowledgement of what we in the department have known for a long time now.  Tina's work is exquisite: beautifully crafted, sensitive, and haunting," Kodat said.  "And as her students will happily testify, she is a wonderful teacher and strong, supportive mentor of young talent.  We are very lucky to have her!"

The Physics of Imaginary Objects is a “miscellany of sorts, or a cabinet of curiosities,” Hall explained. “The stories test how language determines being, how the body and words interact, how story can be tactical rather than strategic, and how the familiar might be made strange.”

Hall’s stories often take on the qualities of a poem, working with rhythm and negative space while trying to reconfigure narrative in terms of language and image. “What ties them all together, I hope, is the sense that just around the next indent, anything can happen,” Hall commented.

Recalling her reaction to winning the Heinz Prize, Hall said, “I was astounded and thrilled— and absolutely sure for about two weeks that someone would be calling me back to tell me they had made a terrible clerical error! I am truly honored to be included in such a wonderful list of writers and feel absolutely privileged to be part of the tradition of the Drue Heinz.”

Hall received her undergraduate degree in creative writing from the University of Arizona, her MFA from Bowling Green State University and her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize. Her novella, All the Day’s Sad Stories, was published as a chapbook by Caketrain Press in 2009.
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