Lawrence Coates, Chair of English, received the 2016 Olscamp Research Award. Given annually by the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research to a faculty member for outstanding scholarly or creative accomplishments during the previous three years, the award includes a $2,000 cash prize and a reserved parking spot for a year.
The last three years have been especially prolific for him. He has published two novels and a novella and a number of short stories in literary journals.
In 2013, his novel “The Garden of the World” won the Nancy Dasher Award in Creative Writing from the College English Association of Ohio. His novella “Camp Olvido” won the 2015 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was chosen as one of the top three novellas of the year. And his short story “Bats,” a departure from his California-based work, won the prestigious 2013 Barthelme Prize for Short Prose, given by Gulf Coast literary journal.
His latest novel, also published in 2015, is “The Goodbye House,” published by University of Nevada Press, chronicling the displacement and dismay of a San José family set adrift when their prosperous life is shattered by the dot-com bust and 9/11.
“Camp Olvido” concerns people for whom prosperity has never come. As migrant farmworkers in a Central Valley workers’ camp, they are at the mercy of their employers when a child becomes deathly ill.