Success Stories

Bunn wins Pushcart Prize

Austin Bunn

Austin Bunn, assistant professor of writing at Grand Valley State University, has won a prestigious Pushcart Prize for a story to be included in the 2010 anthology. Bunn’s short story “Everything, All At Once,” was first published in the June 2008 issue of The Sun.

Bunn wrote his story from the viewpoint of an adult daughter who is navigating trials in her life, including the antics of her aging mother. The piece is quasi-autobiographical, in that Bunn’s sister and mother do live near each other and their relationship shares some qualities that the story describes.

“I had moved to Louisville that fall, to teach at the University of Louisville, and began talking to my older sister a lot - she became, in a way, my new best friend,” said Bunn. “We weren’t estranged, but I think we were both rediscovering that strong, complicated friendship that can happen between siblings. I wanted to tell a story in her voice - grounded, arch, poignant, resilient, all mixed in one. And this story is what emerged.”

“The Pushcart Prize - Best of the Small Presses” series is one of the most honored literary projects in America, drawing from the best nominations from hundreds of small press editors. Since 1976 writers of short stories, poetry and essays have been represented in the pages of the annual anthology. The 2010 edition will be published in December 2009 by W.W. Norton.

Prior to joining GVSU last fall, Bunn was the Axton Fellow in fiction at the University of Louisville. He is a graduate of Yale University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in both fiction and playwriting, where he was the Iowa Arts Fellow.

Bunn’s fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the Best American Science and Nature Writing, Best American Fantasy, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, New York Magazine, Salon, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. A former columnist at The Village Voice newspaper, he is the co-author, with film producer Christine Vachon, of the book A Killer Life: How an Independent Producer Survives Deals and Disasters in Hollywood and Beyond (Simon and Schuster).

Bunn’s plays have been developed at The New Harmony Project, The Lark, The Playwrights’ Theatre of New Jersey, The Playwrights’ Center, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing, fiction, and playwriting.

Grand Valley State University is the comprehensive regional university for Michigan’s second largest metropolitan area and offers 71 undergraduate and 26 graduate degree programs. It has campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids, and Holland and centers in Muskegon and Traverse City. Grand Valley attracts more than 23,000 students with high quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities.

by Mary Isca Pirkola

This story was filed with the tags: Awards, First-Rate Faculty, Literature, Published