English Professor Nominated for Prestigious Literary Awards
September 21, 2011
Professor Wendy Moffat's biography of author E.M. Forster has garnered literary acclaim since it was published in 2010.
Wendy Moffat, professor of English at Dickinson College, was nominated for two prestigious literary awards for her biography of author E.M. Forster titled A Great Unrecorded History. Moffat was short-listed for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Britain’s oldest literary award, and also was a runner-up for the 2011 PEN Literary Award for biography. PEN is the oldest international literary and human rights organization whose previous winners include Nobel Prize-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller.
Moffat, who has studied the life and works of Forster for more than 30 years, said the recognition carries sentimental attachments and has deepened her connections to Forster who was a 1924 recipient of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and once served as Britain’s PEN representative.
"It's a little surreal to hear my name in the same breath as Forster and Lytton Strachey, who won the James Tait Black for his biography of Queen Victoria. They are great modern writers whose work I teach in The Bloomsbury Group and other courses,” says Moffat. “I'm delighted to have been chosen as a finalist for this prestigious prize, and delighted that A Great Unrecorded History has found appreciative audiences in Britain and America."
Moffat’s connection with Forster goes back to her studies at Yale University, where as an undergraduate she read A Passage to India and laterwrote her dissertation on Forster. Moffat currently teaches a course at Dickinson called Forster's England.
Since it was published in 2010, A Great Unrecorded History—Moffat’s first book—was awarded the Best First Biography Prize by the Biographers’ Club in London and has garnered literary acclaim. Janet Maslin of TheNew York Times called it, “one of the top 10 books of 2010.”
Moffat will soon begin research for her next book, a portrait of World War I in 1917 from the perspective of two Americans and two British writers living during what was thought to be an endless war.