Former visiting author at WSU wins Pulitzer Prize in fiction


Courtesy of Kaliel Roberts

Andrew Sean Greer, was a visiting writer in the fall of 2015, and recently won the Pulitzer for fiction.

Andrew Sean Greer, who taught at Wichita State for a month as a visiting author in the creative writing program, won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in fiction.

He won the award for his novel “Less,” which was praised by the Pulitzer committee as “A generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love.”

Margaret Dawe, interim director of the creative writing program, said Greer was a “caring teacher” while he worked with students at WSU in 2015.

Dawe said Greer visited WSU “back in the era” when the creative writing program could afford to bring two distinguished writers — an author and a poet — each year.

Visiting authors stay in Wichita for a month while they teach at WSU and work with students one-on-one.

Dawe said the WSU creative writing program took a hit after the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences budget was cut.

The budget for the visiting writer program was cut in half in 2016, from $28,000 to $14,000.

Dawe said the cut forced the creative writing program to “move back a notch.”

Following the cut, the creative writing program could no longer bring as many distinguished writers and poets to WSU to teach and work with students.

“We used to have a distinguished writer and a distinguished poet each spring. But now we have to alternate the ‘distinguished,’ and what we sub in is an emerging writer,” or a writer just getting started in their career, Dawe said.

She said the distinguished visiting writers are an important recruiting tool for the creative writing MFA program.

“We won’t have the writers as often,” Dawe said. “It’s much harder now to recruit students to the MFA program.”