Home
About the Hall of FameSearch InducteesRelevant links
Current InducteesNominations FormContact Us
 
Center Rounded Graphic Right Rounded Graphic

2009 Inductees

August Wilson
Charles M. Schulz
F. Scott Fitzgerald
J.F. Powers *
John Berryman
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Maud Hart Lovelace
Sigurd F. Olson
Sinclair Lewis
Wanda Gág

  Author Headline
spacer

Author Photograph

Impact & Influence

Biography

Major Works

Scholarly Works

Audio/Video

Divider
 

Impact & Influence

 

Although he produced a slim volume of work and kept a low profile, Powers' writings captivated his audience with realistic, rather than dramatic, tales of Catholic priesthood. Using subtle comedy, he points out the underlying struggles between the secular and the profane. He won the National Book Award in 1963 for his debut novel, Morte d'Urban, and was a finalist for Wheat That Springeth Green. His short story "Lions, Harts, Leaping Does" was selected for inclusion in the O. Henry Prize Stories in 1944, and "Death of a Favorite" was later selected by author John Updike for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. He also earned the Wethersfield Institute Award for Outstanding Literary Achievement in 1989.

top of page

Biography

Called "the finest Catholic writer of the 20th Century," J.F. Powers lived a quiet life. Born in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1917, he was raised by a devout Catholic family and attended a Franciscan high school. He later enrolled in a few college courses in English and philosophy but never earned a degree. Although he expressed no interest in the joining the clergy, Powers did attend a retreat for priests in 1943 in Minnesota, where he would later make his home. Influenced by the Catholic Workers movement and Dorothy Day, he became a conscientious objector to World War II, which resulted in thirteen months in Sandstone Prison in Minnesota for refusing to join the military. Upon release, he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he wrote slowly but steadily — over the years he published several short stories for the New Yorker and other magazines. Powers went on to teach writing at several colleges, including Marquette and Smith, and spent long periods living in Ireland. In 1975, Powers returned to Minnesota as a Regents English professor and writer-in-residence at St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict's, where he remained until his death in 1999.

top of page

Major Works

Prince of Darkness and Other Stories (1947)
The Presence of Grace (1956)
Morte d'Urban (1962)
Look How the Fish Live (1975)
Wheat that Springeth Green (1988)

top of page

Scholarly Works

J. F. Powers, by John V. Hagopian

top of page

Audio/Video

Sorry, none available at this time.


 

top of page

 

 

At a Glance

Map Graphic


J.F. Powers

Hometown:

Jacksonville, Illinois

July 8, 1917 -
June 12, 1999

Minnesota Ties:

Lived in Minnesota and taught at St. John's University

Education:

Attended Northwestern University, but did not graduate

Known for:

Novels and short stories which draw inspiration from the Roman Catholic Church