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Nami Mun wins 2009 Whiting Writers' Award

Posted: 11/19/2009 12:39:08 AM
From Columbia College Chicago:

Nami Mun, alumna of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan and assistant professor of Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago, has been awarded the prestigious Whiting Writers' Award for her 2009 novel Miles from Nowhere. The award, which includes a $50,000 stipend, has been given annually since 1985 to 10 writers of exceptional talent and promise early in their careers. The program marks its twenty-fifth anniversary this year.The 2009 recipients were announced at a ceremony at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York on Wednesday, October 28, featuring a keynote address by Margaret Atwood. Dr. Robert L. Belknap, president of the foundation, and trustee Kate Douglas Torrey presented the awards.

In addition to the Whiting Award, the widely acclaimed Miles from Nowhere was shortlisted for the U.K.'s Orange Award for New Writers. The novel follows Joon, a 13-year-old runaway, through the streets of New York as she struggles with addiction, exploitation, and her own past. Mun spent several years creating the manuscript.

"I'm no good at letting things go, which is probably why I worked on the book for eight years and revised each chapter roughly 30 times—the book as a whole maybe five times," she explains. "I knew the manuscript was ready, at least ready to leave my house, because one day I woke up and had nothing to do."

Mun is in her second year on faculty at Columbia. When asked what has struck her most about the college, she answers, "The students, hands down. They seem to live and work and study and dress and talk and walk creatively." She adds, "I was never that cool in college."

As for what's next for Mun, she says, "I'm always, always looking forward to my next day of writing. Which at the moment involves a book about crime."


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