Macalester Professor Awarded American Academy of Arts and Letters 2013 Literature Prize

photo by Melissa Copon

St. Paul, Minn. – Macalester English Professor Peter Bognanni is one of 19 writers who’s been granted an American Academy of Arts and Letters 2013 award in literature. The awards will be presented in New York in May at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial.

The literature prizes, totaling $175,000, honor both established and emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The Academy’s 250 members nominate candidates, and a rotating committee of writers selects winners. This year’s committee members were Louis Begley, Louise Glück, A. R. Gurney, Alison Lurie, Francine Prose, Mark Strand and Charles Wright.

Bognanni will go to Rome as a literature fellow for a one-year residency (2013–2014) at the American Academy in that city.  The 2001 Macalester graduate is in good company. Past winners of the Rome Prize include Junot Diaz, Lorrie Moore, Padgett Powell, Cormac McCarthy, Ann Sexton, and Ralph Ellison.

“It’s an amazing honor to receive this award,” said Bognanni.  “I look forward to working in Rome for a year and being inspired by the other artists at the Academy.”

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was established in 1898 to “foster, assist, and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts.” Founding members include William Merritt Chase, Kenyon Cox, Daniel Chester French, Childe Hassam, Henry James, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Vedder, and Woodrow Wilson.

The Academy is currently comprised of 250 of America’s leading voices in the fields of Art, Architecture, Literature, and Music. The Academy presents exhibitions of art, architecture, and manuscripts, and readings and performances of new musicals. It is located in three landmark buildings designed by McKim, Mead & White, Cass Gilbert, and Charles Pratt Huntington, on Audubon Terrace at 155 Street and Broadway, New York City.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,035 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at

March 18 2013

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