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Home:  >News & Events   >News Archives   >2004

English professor Adam Gussow wins award for book from Society for Southern Literature

Jan. 13, 2004

Adam Gussow
Adam Gussow

OXFORD, Miss. — Adam Gussow, University of Mississippi assistant professor of English and Southern studies, is the latest recipient of the Society for Southern Literature’s C. Hugh Holman Award.

Named for the late University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill English professor and Southern Literary Journal editor, the award recognizes the “best book of literary scholarship or criticism in Southern literature during a given calendar year,” according to the society.

Gussow received the award for Seems Like Murder Here: Southern Violence and the Blues Tradition (University of Chicago Press, 2002). The award was presented at the December convention of the Modern Language Association in San Diego.

“Seems Like Murder Here is a classic interdisciplinary study,” said Charles Reagan Wilson, director of UM’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. “Adam’s depth of understanding of the music and community makes that book stand out as one of the most important studies of African-American literature.”

Wilson won the award with the center’s founder William Ferris in 1990 for their Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 1989).

An expansion of Gussow’s dissertation, Seems Like Murder Here is his first scholarly work and his second blues-themed book. Mister Satan’s Apprentice: A Blues Memoir, an account of Gussow’s experience playing harmonica alongside Harlem guitarist Sterling Magee, was published by Pantheon in 1998.

“It’s extremely rare for an assistant professor’s first scholarly book to win this kind of prize,” said Joseph Urgo, chair and professor of English at UM. “This proves the point that Adam Gussow is a rising star in Southern studies.”

Besides the Holman Award, Seems Like Murder Here recently received a John G. Cawelti Book Award honorable mention from the American Culture Association. A section of the book published in African American Review won the journal’s Darwin T. Turner Award for the best essay of 2001.

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