USF Provost Jennifer Turpin described each of USF’s Guggenheim winners—Richard Leo, associate professor of law, D.A. Powell, associate professor of English, and David Vann, associate professor in the MFA in writing program—as gifted writers that have had a significant impact on USF students who have benefited by studying with such major figures.
“I am so happy that we have been able to recruit these outstanding teacher scholars whose writing promises to have a major impact on society, whether through poetry, fiction, or nonfiction work,” Turpin said. The fellowships include cash awards of various amounts.
Leo, and writer Tom Wells, who coauthored the award-winning The Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions, and the Norfolk Four, plan to use their grant to research a new book, The Innocence Revolution, which examines the founding of the Innocence Project and the consequential exoneration of hundreds of wrongly convicted U.S. prisoners as a result of DNA evidence. Powell, the winner of the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his book Chronic and Harvard University’s Phi Beta Kappa guest poet in 2010, will use his grant to pay for research trips to California’s Central Valley for his new book of poetry.
International best-selling author and winner of France’s Prix Médicis in 2010, Vann will use his grant to work on his sixth novel, Dirt. This new work of fiction will draw on Vann’s family history in California’s Central Valley, relating the main character’s pursuit of spiritual transcendence in the New Age movement.