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Honoree John Edgar Wideman

John Edgar Wideman is the award-winning author of more than twenty books. His forthcoming story collections, You Made Me Love You: Selected Stories, 1981-2018 and Look For Me and I’ll Be Gone, will be published in 2021. Wideman’s past works include the novels A Glance Away (1967), Hurry Home (1970), The Lynchers (1973), Hiding Place (1981), Sent for You Yesterday (1983), Reuben (1987), The Cattle Killing (1996), and Two Cities (1998); the short story collections Damballah (1981), Fever (1990), God’s Gym (2005), Briefs (2010),and American Histories (2018); and the memoirs Fatheralong (1994), Hoop Roots (2001), The Island: Martinique (2003), and Writing to Save a Life (2016), in which he combines memoir and biography to tell the story of Emmett Till’s father, Louis Till. 


Wideman’s PEN/Faulker Award-winning novel Philadeliphia Fire (1990) and his classic memoir Brothers and Keepers (1984) were reissued by Scribner in 2020. His new work appears regularly in periodicals, and his latest short story, “Rwanda,” was published in the December, 2020 issue of The New Yorker


Wideman is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (1993) and a two-time winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award. He was awarded the 1998 Rea Prize for Short Fiction, the 2010 PEN/O Henry Prize, and the 2019 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. He has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2016, Wideman was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2018 he was awarded the Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, and Bern University, Switzerland. 


Wideman was previously Asa Messer Professor and Professor of Africana Studies and Literary Arts at Brown University, where he is now Professor Emeritus of Literature. He lives in New York and France.

Fitzgerald Birthday Celebration
Writing Workshops

All 2020 Fitzgerald Festival Workshops will be conducted virtually on Saturday, October 30. The fee for each workshop will be $25 and registration will be limited.

About the Festival

The F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival was established in 1996 to celebrate the centenary of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birth, in Rockville, Maryland, the city where Fitzgerald, his wife, and his daughter are buried. The Festival seeks to honor the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald and those of prominent American literary artists and to support, encourage, and assist aspiring and emerging writers and students interested in the literary arts. Originally a one-day event, the Festival now includes programs on three days. The F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival is co-sponsored by the City of Rockville and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference, Inc.

The centerpiece of the Literary Festival is the presentation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Achievement in American Literature to a prominent American writer, who is present to give a reading and a master class. Over the years, many of the most distinguished American literary figures of the last half century have been honored. The 2021 recipient isJohn Edgar Wideman. The 2021 Festival will again be held virtually, with events on September 24,  and October 30.

The 2021 Festival also sponsors two short story contests: a Student Contest open to Montgomery County high school students and an Adult Contest open to residents of Maryland, DC, and Virginia. The winners and two runners-up in each contest will be announced and awarded cash prizes at a virtual ceremony on the evening of September 24, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 125th birthday. 


John Edgar Wideman

2021 Honoree

John Edgar Wideman.



Festival Schedule

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