Arkansas fiction writer Tyrone Jaeger is the recipient of the 2018 Porter Fund Literary Prize. The Porter Prize is presented annually to an Arkansas writer with a substantial and impressive body of work that merits enhanced recognition. Past winners of the Porter Prize include Mara Leveritt, Morris Arnold, Kevin Brockmeier and Jo McDougall, the Poet Laureate of Arkansas. The $2,000 prize makes it one of the state’s most lucrative as well as prestigious literary awards. Eligibility requires an Arkansas connection.
Jaeger will be honored at an award ceremony 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 11 at the Main Library’s Darragh Center in downtown Little Rock. The Porter Prize and the Booker Worthen Literary Prize will be given out in the same evening. The event is free and open to the public.
The Porter Prize was founded in 1984 by novelist Jack Butler and novelist and lawyer Phil McMath to honor Dr. Ben Kimpel. Butler and McMath were students of Kimpel, noted professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. At Kimpel’s request, the prize is named in honor of Kimpel’s mother, Gladys Crane Kimpel Porter. The annual prize, $2,000, has been given to 34 poets, novelists, non-fiction writers and playwrights.
Jaeger was notified of his award by Little Rock novelist Trent Lee Stewart, the 2008 recipient of the Porter Prize. “When I received the call about winning the Porter Prize, I immediately thought back to the summer my wife and I moved to Arkansas,” says Jaeger. “After spending hot and humid days unpacking, I would immerse myself in Frank Stanford’s The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You and Donald Harington’s The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks. How quickly the strange magic of Arkansas and its writers gripped my heart and my imagination. To be recognized by the Porter Fund, and by extension previous Porter Prize Winners, tightens that grip. I am deeply honored and inspired.”
Tyrone Jaeger is the author of the story collection So Many True Believers and the cross-genre novella The Runaway Note. His writing has appeared in the Oxford American, Southern Humanities Review, The Literary Review, descant, Southeast Review, PRISM International and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the Frank O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the Theodore Christian Hoepfner Award. As an undergraduate, he attended Rollins College, and he received his PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has been a member of the faculty at Hendrix College since 2008. Born and raised in the Catskill Mountains, Tyrone lives on Beaverfork Lake, Arkansas, with his wife and daughter.
Author photo credit: Maxine Payne