FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: June 14, 2001
Contact: Lezli Austen
UIS faculty member named Friends of Lincoln Library writer of the year
SPRINGFIELD – Barbara Burkhardt, new University of Illinois at Springfield faculty member, was a winner in this year’s Friends of Lincoln Library’s Writer of the Year competition.
Burkhardt won in the nonfiction category for her critical biography – the first book-length treatment – of noted author and editor William Maxwell.
In announcing their selection the judges wrote, “This scholarly but not too technical synthesis of pertinent and the writer’s own literary analysis (as well as that of others) is presented in the winner’s readable style.” Burkhardt “unapologetically reveals admiration, indeed affection, for Maxwell,” they noted, “but not without providing a scrupulously accurate history and analysis of Maxwell’s life, times, and works. The result is a very satisfying and authoritative life story of an important and fascinating literary figure.”
The judges described Burkhardt’s style as “scholarly yet sensitive, detailed yet insightful, meticulously researched yet poignant.”
Burkhardt’s research for the biography included numerous interviews with Lincoln-born Maxwell and with a number of his associates. It also draws on previously unpublished correspondence and manuscripts. Burkhardt has been in contact with a university press and a commercial publisher concerning the book, and expects to learn the details of publication this summer.
Burkhardt was recently appointed as a new faculty member in the UIS English program, where she will teach courses in American literature from 1865 to the present. She has a bachelor’s and doctoral degree from the U of I at Urbana-Champaign.