Author Peter Orner Wins Greenberg Center’s Wallant Award for Maggie Brown & Others

March 06, 2020
Author Peter Orner
Peter Orner, author, Maggie Brown & Others.

The University of Hartford’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies has named author Peter Orner the 2019 Edward Lewis Wallant Award winner for his book of short stories, Maggie Brown and Others (Little, Brown and Company, 2019).  

In his sixth book, Maggie Brown & Others, Orner has managed his most sustained achievement yet: 44 stories, many as short as a few paragraphs, none longer than twenty pages. The stories venture from the San Francisco Bay Area to Chicago and Iowa then over to the East Coast, and with them he pairs a poignant novella that delivers not only the joys and travails of a 45-year marriage, but an entire era in a working-class New England city. While recurrent characters appear in different stories and some of the stories are linked, Orner achieves his effects with subtlety, so that part of the pleasure for readers of this collection is in discovery and making the connections that Orner has movingly built into the book. Yet each story can be enjoyed on its own and will leave an indelible mark.

Peter Orner is the author of two novels, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo and Love and Shame and Love, and two-story collections, Esther Stories and Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge. His latest book, Am I Alone Here?, a memoir, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Orner’s fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, Granta, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, The Southern Review, and many other publications. His stories have been anthologized in Best American Stories and twice received a Pushcart Prize. Orner has been awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy in Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a two-year Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship, as well as a Fulbright to Namibia. Currently, he is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College and lives with his family in Norwich, Vermont. Visit to learn more.

The Wallant Award is one of the oldest and most prestigious Jewish literary awards in the United States. Established by Dr. and Mrs. Irving Waltman of West Hartford in 1963, the Wallant Award honors the memory of the late Edward Lewis Wallant, author of The Pawnbroker and other works of fiction. It is presented to a Jewish writer, preferably unrecognized, whose published work of fiction is deemed to have significance for the American Jew For information about the Wallant Award, including a list of past winners, visit

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