The winners of the Dobie Paisano Writing Fellowships for 2010-2011 are Philipp Meyer and John Pipkin. The fellowships, sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters, allows writers to live and work at the Paisano ranch, J. Frank Dobie's 254-acre retreat west of Austin.
Philipp Meyer's first novel, American Rust, is being published in fourteen countries and ten languages. It was an Economist Book of the Year, a Washington Post Best Book of 2009, a New York Times Notable Book, one of Newsweek magazine's "Best. Books. Ever," and won a 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Universal Pictures is working on the film adaptation. Meyer's other writing has been published in The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, The Independent, Esquire UK, McSweeney's The Iowa Review, New Stories from the South, and Salon.com. He graduated with an MFA from The University of Texas Michener Center in 2008 and is the recipient of a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship. At the Dobie Paisano Ranch, he will be working on a novel about the rise of a Texas oil and ranching dynasty across the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
John Pipkin's critically acclaimed debut novel, Woodsburner, was published by Nan Talese/Doubleday in May 2009 and was awarded the First Novel Prize by the New York Center for Fiction that same year. The novel is based on a little known forest fire accidentally started by Henry David Thoreau a year before he went to live at Walden Pond. Woodsburner was named "one of the best books of 2009" by the Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the Christian Science Monitor. This spring Woodsburner received the 2010 Fiction Award from the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and the Texas Institute of Letters awarded Woodsburner the 2010 Steven Turner Award for First Novel Prize.
Pipkin received his Ph.D. in British Literature from Rice University in 1997. He was an Assistant Professor of Humanities and Rhetoric at Boston University until 2000, when he moved to Austin, where he served as the Executive Director of the Writers' League of Texas until 2007. More recently, he has taught Creative Writing at Southwestern University and at The University of Texas at Austin, and he has begun work on his second novel, The Blind Astronomer's Atlas. For the summer of 2010, he was awarded a Research Fellowship at the Harry Ransom Center to research the archives of the Herschel family papers. John currently lives in Austin with his wife and son.