“Richard Ford is the epitome of what the Lawrence A. Sanders Award is meant to champion,” said Les Standiford, director of the Creative Writing Program “His mastery of prose and his uncanny sense of what is profound in the most ordinary aspects of life have made him not only a success and a Pulitzer Prize winner, but a very popular writer who is enjoyed by many.”
Ford is a novelist, short story and screenplay writer of the dirty realism genre. He has penned seven novels, including Canada (2012), The Lay of the Land (2006), and The Sportswriter (1986). His novel Independence Day (1995) was the first to ever win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Ford’s short story collections include Rock Springs (1987) and A Multitude of Sins (2002), which contain many widely anthologized stories.
Born in Mississippi and raised in Arkansas, Ford has suffered from mild dyslexia his entire life. He has stated in interviews the dyslexia helped him as a reader since it forced him to approach books at a thoughtful and slower pace. He earned a B.A. in English from Michigan State University. After graduating, he taught at a junior high school and then enlisted in the U.S. Marines. In the late 1960s, he enrolled in law school but dropped out to pursue a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California-Irvine. In 2012, he became a professor of humanities and writing at the Columbia University School of the Arts.
The Lawrence A. Sanders Award for Fiction is awarded annually to a writer of fiction, identified by the Creative Writing Program, whose work combines literary excellence with popular appeal. The award is supported by a grant from the Lawrence A. Sanders Foundation of Boca Raton. Lawrence A. Sanders, a novelist and short story writer who died in 1988, was an author of well-regarded popular novels, including The First Deadly Sin. Previous award recipients include Scott Turow, Pat Conroy and Isabel Allende.