The biennial award is given to a major American author who has created a body of critically acclaimed work and who has — in the tradition of creative writing at OSU — mentored young writers.
Wolff is best known for his work in two genres: the short story and the memoir. His first short story collection, “In the Garden of the North American Martyrs,” was published in 1981. Wolff chronicled his early life in two memoirs, “In Pharaoh’s Army” (1994) and “This Boy’s Life” (1989), which was turned into a 1993 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.
In addition to four short story collections, Wolff is the author of the 2003 novel, “Old School.”
In 1989, Wolff was chosen as recipient of the Rea Award for Excellence in the Short Story. He also has been awarded the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Fairfax Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature, the PEN/Malamud Award for Achievement in the Short Story, and the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Wolff is the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the Humanities at Stanford.
Wolff will be presented with the Stone Award at the Portland Art Museum on May 21, and will visit the Oregon State campus in Corvallis on May 22 to give a public reading. In the spring, OSU Master of Fine Arts program students will lead “Everybody Reads” programs featuring a selected book by Wolff, with events at libraries, book clubs and independent bookstores.
The $20,000 Stone Award — one of the largest prizes of its kind given by an American university — was established in 2011 by a gift from Patrick Stone, a 1974 graduate from OSU’s College of Liberal Arts, and his wife, Vicki. In 2012, the inaugural recipient was Joyce Carol Oates. The Stones established the prize to spotlight Oregon State’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, ranked among the top 25 MFA programs in 2012 by Poets & Writers magazine.