September 2015 in Missoula, Montana: A Celebration of the Written Word
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Jeff Renard Allen

Jeffery Renard Allen is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Virginia. Allen is the author of five books, most recently the novel Song of the Shank (Graywolf Press, 2104), which is loosely based on the life of Blind Tom, a nineteenth century African American piano virtuoso and composer who was the first African American to perform at The White House. The novel was featured as the front-page review of both The New York Times Book Review and The San Francisco Chronicle. It won the Firecracker Award and was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Allen's novel Rails Under My Back won The Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize for Fiction, and his short story collection Holding Pattern won The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence.  Allen has received other accolades for his work, including a Whiting Writers' Award, a grant in Innovative Literature from Creative Capital and most recently a Guggenheim Fellowship.