Prof. Haley Wins Kelton Prize


0 Commentsby   |  11.13.10  |  Faculty Publications

Writer in residence and creative writing professor Al Haley has been named the winner of the fourth annual writing competition sponsored by Angelo State University and the Concho River Review in honor of famed western writer Elmer Kelton.

Three passions come together--hours spent reading, writing, and listening to music.


The competition this year was open to entries in the genre of creative nonfiction. Al’s winning piece, “Hemingway Summer Jazz,” is his prose reflection upon his favorite activity, reading.

“I tried to express as best I could the frustration I have with so many books I have stacked up, ready to read and yet there’s so little time to sit down and turn the pages,” Al says.

In the 4500-word piece Al reveals that once he’s into summer he side-steps his long list of “need to reads” and always re-reads a book by a favorite author. For a long time that author has been Ernest Hemingway.

“I know Hemingway is not academically fashionable,” Al says, “but there’s something about the slow pace of his writing that coincides with my summer mood.”

He adds, “The main thing I was trying to do wasn’t to single out one writer for praise, but to remind myself, and others, about how there’s nothing like eyes meeting text inked onto the page. In this age of screens large and small competing for our attention, I think somebody has to stand up and say, you know, you’re missing out on an entire body, mind, and soul experience  if you’re not doing some old school reading.”

As a result of his win, Al will receive a small cash prize, his piece will be published in the next issue of Concho River River, and he has been invited to read at the Angelo State Writer’s Conference which will be held Feb. 17-18, 2011.

This installment of  the Writer’s Conference will feature Art Spiegelman who is widely regarded as the father of the literary graphic novel with his books Maus  I and II (1986, 1992). Since San Angelo is only a 50-minute drive from Abilene, Al encourages English majors to make the trek.

“You don’t get to meet a world famous writer every day,” he says. “You ought to hear him and then have him autograph a book for you.”

For those that don’t know, Al is currently involved in a personal challenge he calls The Van Winkle Proejct and is abstaining from all news, weather, sports and entertainment, except for what can be experienced first-hand. Al says it’s all right for him know about the writing festival and enter contests.

“I’m a writer, not a hermit,” he says. “There’s a difference. Not much, but some.”

Al’s adventures in not-knowing are being documented on a blog.

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