NEW YORK — Berea writer C.E. Morgan is among 10 emerging authors, poets and playwrights picked as winners of the $50,000 Whiting Writers' Awards for showing "exceptional talent and promise."
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner hosted a ceremony in Manhattan on Monday for the awards.
Other recipients include fiction writers Hanna Dela Cruz Abrams, Jennifer DuBois, Stephanie Powell Watts and Amanda Coplin, poets Ishion Hutchinson and Rowan Ricardo Phillips; playwright Virginia Grise; nonfiction writer Morgan Meis; and nonfiction and fiction writer Clifford Thompson.
Morgan's first novel, All the Living, was published in 2009 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. She was recognized as one of the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" for 2010 and The New Yorker named her one of its "20 Under 40" list of fiction writers for 2010. She has also received the Lannan Literary Fellowship and Residency, a U.S. Artist Fellowship, and a Cullman Fellowship from the New York Public Library.
Morgan, who holds degrees from Berea College and Harvard Divinity School, will use her Whiting Award to finish her current novel about horse racing and race relations in the contemporary South and Ohio River Valley, according to the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, which sponsors the awards.
The Whiting prizes were established in 1985. Previous winners include Kushner, Jonathan Franzen and Mary Karr.
Kentucky writers who have received the Whiting Award include Lexington writer Kim Edwards, Rowan County native Chris Offutt and Louisville writer John Jeremiah Sullivan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.