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Acclaimed Novelist William H. Gass To Be Honored as 40th Annual, 2007 Saint Louis Literary Award Recipient

Dr. Gass joins an impressive list of great writers who have been recognized for their legendary contributions as novelists, essayists, poets and playwrights. Recipients of the Saint Louis Literary Award include Saul Bellow, Eudora Welty, John Updike, Richard Ford, Joan Didion and Chinua Achebe. Award-winning playwright and novelist Michael Frayn was the 2006 Saint Louis Literary Award recipient.

During a writing career that spans nearly five decades, Dr. Gass has been recognized for his works of fiction and non-fiction as well as stories and essays. Dr. Gass has received many awards and honors, including the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism and the Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contributions to Literature in the Midwest. As the David May Distinguished Professor in Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, he taught philosophy for more than 30 years and founded the University's International Writers Center. Although he retired from full-time teaching in 1999, Dr. Gass continues as professor emeritus at the university

Now celebrating its 40thyear, the prestigious Saint Louis Literary Award was first presented as the Wilma and Roswell Messing, Jr. Award in 1967. In the decades since, literary giants from around the world have traveled to St. Louis to accept this award. For a list for previous Award recipients, please see Literary Award.

The honor, known simply as the Saint Louis Literary Award today, is presented annually by the Saint Louis University Library Associates and a group of patrons.

Hugh Law, president of SLU's Library Associates, said the group is delighted to honor Dr. Gass and sponsor the annual awards presentation.

"The splendid tradition of past honorees, which we inherit, reflects our special contribution to the larger community of learning. This year that tradition is well continued by the recognition of the literary work of William Gass, our distinguished fellow St. Louisan," Law said.

Gail Staines, Ph.D., assistant provost for University libraries, said the 40-year tradition of honoring some of our greatest writers is part of the continuing commitment of SLU and the Library Associates to recognize and promote the best in literature.

"It is a pleasure to be able to honor one of St. Louis' premier authors. Dr. Gass joins a list of very prestigious awardees and we are thrilled that he is right in our own backyard," Staines said.

About William H. Gass: An award-winning writer, essayist and critic, William H. Gass, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis where he taught philosophy for more than 30 years. He also founded the university's International Writers Center to serve as a focal point for writing excellence. For more than four decades, his books, short stories and essays have received high praise from critics and readers alike. His epic novel, The Tunnel, which took 30 years to compose, was published in 1995 and released as an audio book in 2006. He is currently working on a novel as well as a book of 17th century Baroque sermons and an essay for Harper's Magazine, where he has been a regular contributor for many years. A distinguished member of the St. Louis community, in 1998 he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame along with Cardinal baseball great Red Schoendienst. Dr. Gass is married to Mary Henderson Gass and lives in St. Louis.

About the Saint Louis University Library Associates: Founded in 1964 by University President Paul C. Reinert, S.J., with the help of Henry J. Scherck and J. Barry McGannon, S.J., the goal of the Saint Louis University Library Associates was to build a closer relationship between the University and the community and to enhance the prestige of Saint Louis University as one of St. Louis' most important and sustainable institutions. Their mission is to enhance the visibility of the Saint Louis University libraries in order to promote the development of their collections and services.

For more information Saint Louis University Libraries and the Library Associates, visit: Saint Louis University Library Associates.

For parking or program information, call 314-977-3100 or e-mail

To register for the dinner that follows the awards presentation, call Joan Hecker at 314-520-3564.

Tickets are $75. Valet parking will be available.

Please send Comments and Suggestions to Saint Louis University Library Associates.