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Pregnancy, Pit Bulls and a Drink Called a Purple Martini

2011 Northwestern MFA graduate wins Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award

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June 29, 2012 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A tale about pregnancy, pit bulls, Jimmy Buffett, Humboldt Park and a drink called a Purple Martin won this year’s Nelson Algren Award. The $5,000 short story prize given by the Chicago Tribune went to Jeremy T. Wilson. A 2011 graduate of Northwestern’s MFA in Creative Writing Program, Wilson received the award at Saturday’s Printers Row Lit Fest.

When he began the MFA program at Northwestern, Wilson said he was looking for “quick confirmation on whether a story was good or bad” and for easy ways to fix his writing. As he worked toward his MFA, he learned that writing is “more a process of discovery” than he had earlier imagined.

“Writing a good story isn't like fixing a broken down car,” says Wilson. “It’s more like pounding on the car every day until it suddenly begins to drive.” Wilson’s award-winning story “Everything Is Going to Be Okay” will be published in the Chicago Tribune.

He says he also received a “special pencil, a Palomino Blackwing 602” from local author and 2011 Algren Award winner Billy Lombardo at the award ceremony. “That was cool, too,” says Wilson, who tutors at Northwestern and teaches writing at author Dave Eggers’ writing and tutoring center, 826CHI, among other Chicago venues.

For more about Wilson, the Nelson Algren Award and the MA and MFA in creative writing program in Northwestern’s School of Continuing Studies, visit http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-06-08/entertainment/chi-nelson-algren-award-winner-2012-20120608_1_book-signings-nelson-algren-award-chicago-home and http://www.scs.northwestern.edu/grad/cw/.