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Charlotte Area

Queens professor wins Pulitzer Prize

Charlotte has a claim on the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction. Author Elizabeth Strout has been a member of the creative writing faculty at Queens University for eight years where she mentors small groups of master's students in short residencies. Queens' MFA co-director Michael Kobre has long been a fan of Strout's work, but was surprised her novel "Olive Kitteridge" was chosen for a Pulitzer. "Here you have a beautifully composed book of stories about an older woman living in a small town in Maine," says Kobre. "That's really out of keeping with this kind of ironic, edgy quality of our mainstream culture and much of our literary culture today." Kobre says the Pulitzer is a tribute to Strout's storytelling ability and lyrical style. Strout is the first Pulitzer Prize winning author on the writing faculty at Queens University. When she's not teaching in Charlotte, Strout lives in New York. Her next Queens class is in May, but Kobre says that may be rescheduled because of Strout's newfound fame. However, Kobre believes Strout will continue to teach at Queens University because she was a founding member of the program's faculty and is closely connected to the school's writing community.