June 5, 2017
Tagged: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English, Creative Writing

Martha Cooley Is Awarded O. Henry Prize for Short Story

News, Faculty Highlights

Martha S. Cooley, Ph.D.

Professor Martha S. Cooley was named a recipient of the prestigious O. Henry Prize for her short fiction “Mercedes Benz.” The story—a meditation on poetry, cars and growing older—originally appeared in the journal A Public Space, where she is a contributing editor, and will be republished in an anthology with the rest of this year’s winners.

The story follows in setting and tone her recently published memoir Guesswork: A Reckoning With Loss, which followed her through a year in Italy as she reflects on her aging parents and the loss of friends. Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Diane Cole noted that “through evocative imagery and invocations of the poetry of Eliot, Dickinson and Whitman, [Cooley] reminds us that art can bring solace and clarity to the greatest pain.” The New York Times critic Meghan Daum called the book a “splendid and subtle memoir.” And the Times’ Book Match column called her previous work The Archivist “a layered literary novel about love, grief, mental illness and religion with a middle section told in diary form.”

A translator in addition to a writer and professor, Cooley has worked on the English publication of several volumes of Italian fiction and poetry. She divides her time between New York City and a medieval village in Lunigiana, Italy.


For further information, please contact:

Department of English
Harvey Hall Room 216
p – 516.877.4020

Tagged: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English, Creative Writing