Three Fairfield University professors are finalists for Connecticut Book Award

Three Fairfield University professors are finalists for Connecticut Book Award

Of five finalists for the Connecticut Book Award in fiction, three are Fairfield University English professors. Professor Nicholas Rinaldi, Associate Professor Michael White and Adjunct Professor Peter Duval, are all among the finalists in the fourth annual competition sponsored by the Connecticut Center for the Book at the Hartford Public Library.

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at Hartford City Hall on Sunday, Dec. 4.

"The work of these three authors exemplifies Fairfield's strength in English and in the Humanities," said Timothy Law Snyder, dean of Fairfield's College of Arts and Sciences. "Each of these works results from intense passion, thought, and craft, guided by moral observation and questioning. The College of Arts and Sciences is proud to have authors, thinkers, and teachers in our midst, using their work to guide future authors, while contributing to humankind's literary legacy."

Rinaldi's "Between Two Rivers," (HarperCollins), centers on Farro Fescu, the observant concierge at a New York City condominium complex, and the dazzling cast of characters who pass his way each day. The narrative eye moves deftly through their apartments, revealing private histories and dramatic interactions, culminating in a sudden, overwhelming tragedy.

The New York Times Book Review called the novel "sprawling" and "elegant," while Book List dubbed it a "beautiful, emotionally uplifting tribute to the human spirit." Rinaldi is the author of two previous novels and three poetry collections.

Winner of the 2003 Bakeless Prize for Fiction, Duval's debut, "Rear View: Stories" (Houghton Mifflin), is a collection of 12 stories written with a mix of insight and deadpan humor. Throughout, Duval treats his characters - small-time thieves, lapsed Catholics, night shift workers - with compassion and an eye for telling detail.

Duval was also one of five finalists for the prestigious 2004 Los Angeles Book Prize in First Fiction for "Rear View."

"Duval quietly reserves judgment while getting deep inside his characters and reflecting the weird chaos that exists within all our lives," said a reviewer for Booklist.

White's "The Garden of Martyrs," is a fictionalized account of the little-known 1805 Massachusetts case of Dominic Daley and James Halligan, two Irish Catholics held on murder charges after a young Protestant farmer was found dead along the Boston Post Road stretch where the men were walking. Published by St. Martin's Press in May 2004, the book is White's fourth novel.

"Michael White's new novel…is everything a historical novel, or any novel, should be - rich in its characters and setting, compelling in its drama, and utterly true in its deepest emotions and ideology," wrote Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Empire Falls."

The Connecticut Book Awards are the Connecticut Center for the Book's tribute to the state's notable authors, illustrators and designers. In addition to presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to the Literary Community, the Center will award prizes for biography/memoir, children's book author, children's book illustrator, design, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Finalists' books will be sold and most of the authors will be available for signings after the 2 p.m. awards program.

For ticket information, call (860) 695-6320.

Posted On: 11-10-2005 10:11 AM

Volume: 38 Number: 103