PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University Professor Alex Kuo, chair of the Comparative American Cultures Program and English faculty member, will be awarded the American Book Award at a ceremony May 3 in New York City.
Kuo’s honor recognizes his latest published work, “Lipstick and Other Stories,” a collection of short stories he created over a 12 year period from 1988 through 2000. This is Kuo’s sixth published work and his first collection of short stories.
The award was established in 1978 by the Before Columbus Foundation to “recognize outstanding literary achievement by contemporary American authors,” according to the American Booksellers Association. “The purpose of the awards is to acknowledge the excellence and multicultural diversity of American writing,” according to the association’s Web page.
“It’s been 43 years in the making,” Kuo says, referring to the award and the number of years he has been writing.
After 39 years of teaching, Kuo, 63, has received many honors including the distinction of being the WSU’s first Writer-In-Residence as appointed by Dean Barbara Couture, College of Liberal Arts. In 1991-92 he taught in China as a Senior Fulbright Scholar, and in 1997-98 in Hong Kong as the Lingnan Visiting Scholar in American Studies. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Fellowship.
Kuo began his career writing plays and for a period of 15 years wrote only poetry before turning his interest to fiction. According to Kuo, the primary difference in his work over the years is a transition from “bourgeois self expression toward more concern for larger global issues.” Other recent works include, “Chinese Opera” (1998) and “This Fierce Geography” (1999).