1994 Notable Authors

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David Kherdian
Francis Paul Prucha
Ronald Wallace

David Kherdian, 1931-

Readers of all ages will find treasures to cherish in the writings of Racine-born David Kherdian. For Wisconsinites, the role the state plays in many of his books adds an extra measure of enjoyment. Previous Wisconsin Library Association committees have honored him with the Banta Award in 1980 for his book, The Road from Home, and in 1992 with Outstanding Achievement Recognition for his children's title, The Great Fishing Contest.

Kherdian's Armenian heritage is the foundation for many of his works. Root River Run is a young adult novel that reflects his own childhood and adolescence along with the pleasures and pains of growing up Armenian in Racine. A fictionalized memoir of his uncle in A Song for Uncle Harry again draws from family experiences and reveals a strong relationship between uncle and nephew. Besides the Banta, The Road from Home received the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for nonfiction, the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and selection as a Newbery Award honor book. Told from the perspective of his mother, it describes her growing up and survival as part of the Armenian community in Turkey and eventual arrival in Wisconsin as a mail-order bride. In the sequel, Finding Home, Kherdian narrates her American experience in his own voice. Two books of poetry, On the Death of My Father and Other Poems and The Nonny Poems, were inspired by other family members, the latter by his wife Nonny Hogrogian, who has illustrated many of his books of poetry and books for children.

David Kherdian is a multi-faceted man. In an early interview he said "When I was nineteen, I read Theodore Dreiser's The Stoic and that did it. For years I did nothing but read." He earned a B.S. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1960 and held a variety of jobs, including book store manager; he is an accomplished editor and anthologist of works for children, young people and adults. A recent work, On a Spaceship with Beelzebub, centers on his involvement with the teachings of Georges Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, a 20th-century Russian philosopher. He continues to delight with new titles for young and old.

Selected Writings:

On the Death of My Father and Other Poems (1970)
The Nonny Poems (1974)
Country, Cat, City, Cat (1978)
The Road from Home: The Story of an Armenian Girl (1979)
Finding Home (1981)
Root River Run (1984)
A Song for Uncle Harry (1989)
On a Spaceship with Beelzebub: By a Grandson of Gurdjieff (1991)
Asking the River (1993)

Francis Paul Prucha, S.J., 1921-

Francis Paul Prucha was born in River Falls, Wisconsin. He graduated from River Falls State Teachers College in 1941 and after four years in the U.S. Army Air Forces earned graduate degrees in history from the University of Minnesota and Harvard, and in theology from St. Louis University. He was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1957 and in 1966 became a professor of American history at Marquette University, where he served as history department chair and eventually was named Francis C. Wade, S.J., Distinguished Professor.

Father Prucha is a renowned specialist in the history of the American West and American Indian policy. Since the appearance of Broadax and Bayonet: The Role of the United States Army in the Development of the Northwest, 1815-1860 in 1953, he has published many more books, articles and professional papers. His 1984 work The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians was a jury selection for the Pulitzer Prize in history and received the Billington Prize of the Organization of American Historians. His excellence as a scholar is matched by his commitment to his students, who report that no teacher held them to more exacting standards of writing and research. He has been a generous mentor to young historians, reading their work and offering guidance from a project's early stages through publication.

Now Emeritus Professor at Marquette University, Prucha continues his research and writing activities. He recently published a revised edition of his Handbook for Research in American History: A Guide to Bibliographies and Other Reference Works. A new paperback edition of his first work, Broadax and Bayonet, will appear soon, an indication of the enduring relevance of his impressive contribution to an understanding of our country's present and past.

Selected Writings:

Broadax and Bayonet: The Role of the United States Army in the Development of the Northwest, 1815-1860 (1953)
The Sword of the Republic: The United States Army on the Frontier, 1753-1846 (1968)
The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians (1984)
The Indians in American Society: From the Revolutionary War to the Present (1985)
Atlas of American Indian Affairs (1990)
Handbook for Research in American History (1987, 2nd ed., 1994)

Ronald Wallace, 1945-

Nationally acclaimed poet Ronald W. Wallace is a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He received a B.A. from Wooster College and an M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Michigan. He has been a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1975 and Director of its Creative Writing Program since 1982.

A prolific writer whose work shows the influence of his southern Wisconsin surroundings, Ron lists among his credits nine books, four poetry chapbooks, a study guide, scholarly articles, and numerous poems and works of fiction in literary magazines and anthologies across the country. His accessible, evocative, often humorous poems have also appeared in publications such as The Nation, The New Yorker, Transactions, The Atlantic and Wisconsin Academy Review. He is frequently asked to give readings and has served as judge, consultant and lecturer for a wide variety of literary enterprises. His readiness, despite a busy schedule, to extend advice and support to students and other aspiring writers is legendary.

Among the many awards and prizes Wallace has received are the Hopwood Award in 1970, the Cairn Poetry Prize in 1975, Teaching Awards in 1984 and 1991, several Council for Wisconsin Writers Book Awards, the Posner Poetry Award, and WLA Outstanding Achievement Recognition for The Makings of Happiness in 1992. He was named Halls-Bascom Professor in 1993 and in 1994 received the Gerald Bartell Award in the Arts, which recognizes outstanding services reaching beyond the classroom into the community, state or nation, a fitting tribute for a gifted and generous artist.

Selected Writings:

Plums, Stones, Kisses & Hooks: Poems (1981)
Tunes for Bears to Dance to: Poems (1983)
God Be With the Clown: Humor in American Poetry (1984)
People and Dog in the Sun: Poems (1987)
The Makings of Happiness: Poems (1991)
Time's Fancy: Poems (1994)