Porter Fund Donates Acclaimed Arkansas Book Collection to CALS

With a grant from the Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust, the Porter Prize Board has generously donated a collection of books authored by winners of the Porter Prize to the Central Arkansas Library System and six other Arkansas libraries.

The Porter Prize is one of Arkansas’s most prestigious literary awards, bestowed on one recipient annually since 1985 for a collective body of work. Between the annual award and Lifetime Achievement Awards also granted by the Porter Prize Board, almost 40 authors have been selected as Porter Prize honorees.

Each honored author is now represented by a single book of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or plays in the Porter Fund Collection, which also includes works by Porter Fund founders Phillip H. McMath and Jack Butler. The Porter Fund Collection will circulate to the public and is on display on the first floor of the Main Library for the next month.

The seven Arkansas libraries selected to house each of the donated sets from the Porter Fund Collection include one public library (CALS), one historic high school library, and five university libraries.

  • Central Arkansas Library System – Little Rock
  • Little Rock Central High School – Little Rock
  • University of Arkansas – Fayetteville
  • University of Central Arkansas – Conway
  • Arkansas State University – Jonesboro
  • Ouachita Baptist University – Arkadelphia
  • John Brown University – Siloam Springs

Some of the state’s best-known authors have won the Porter Prize or the Lifetime Achievement Award, including Charles Portis, Donald Harington, Jo McDougall, Crescent Dragonwagon, Kevin Brockmeier, and Trenton Lee Stewart.

Werner Trieschmann, past winner of the Porter Prize for Playwriting and currently serving on the Porter Prize Board, hopes that the collections will help more Arkansans become familiar with outstanding literary works by authors connected with our state.

“The Porter Fund Collection makes tangible Arkansas’s considerable wealth of writing talent,” Trieschmann said. “The Porter Fund could not be happier to have these writers together and shine a spotlight on their creative work.”

 The Porter Prize was founded in 1984 by novelist Jack Butler and novelist and lawyer Phil McMath to honor Dr. Ben Kimpel. Butler and McMath were students of Kimpel, a noted professor of English at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. At Kimpel’s request, the prize is named in honor of his mother, Gladys Crane Kimpel Porter.

See the Porter Prize website for a complete list of winners and board members.


article by Rosslyn Elliott