Eric Puchner receives 2018 Towson Prize for Literature

By Jan Lucas on June 5, 2018

Baltimore novelist and short story writer honored for “top-notch realistic fiction”

Eric Puchner (credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
 (Photo credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Eric Puchner is the winner of the 2018 Towson University Prize for Literature for his critically acclaimed collection of short stories, Last Day on Earth (Scribner, 2017).

The book garnered praise from many quarters, including Newsweek, which named it a “Best New Book Release.” The magazine noted that Puchner’s stories “get right to the heart of what it’s like to be a not-quite adult.”

Last Day on Earth book cover

Buzzfeed hailed Last Day on Earth as an “Incredible New Book You Need to Read This Spring,” while the San Francisco Chronicle proclaimed “This is top-notch realistic fiction.”   

Best American Short Stories selected the title story for its 2017 collection. 

Puchner’s earlier work includes Music Through the Floor, a story collection, and Model Home, a novel. Among his awards are a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the 2015 Jeannette Haien Ballard Writer’s Prize.      

His short stories and personal essays have appeared in GQ, Granta, Tin House, Zoetrope, Narrative, Glimmer Train, Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses

Puchner is an assistant professor in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, the novelist Katharine Noel, live in Baltimore with their two children. 

Established in 1979 with a grant from Alice and Franklin Cooley, the Towson University Prize for Literature is awarded annually for a single book or book-length manuscript of fiction, poetry, drama or imaginative nonfiction by a Maryland writer. The prize is granted on the basis of literary and aesthetic excellence as determined by a panel of distinguished judges appointed by the university.