Andrea Lawlor wins prestigious Whiting Award

Andrea Lawlor, whose recent novel, “Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl” garnered numerous accolades, received the 2020 Whiting Award.

By Keely Savoie

Andrea Lawlor, assistant professor of English, has received the 2020 Whiting Award, which is given by the Whiting Foundation in support of emerging authors whose work shows promise and excellence. This year is the 35th anniversary of the awards.

Whiting Awards are nomination-based and writers are unaware they are under consideration. 

“I had no idea it was coming,” said Lawlor. “It was such an unexpected honor, especially to be a part of this cohort.”

Among the esteemed writers Lawlor joins with receiving this year’s award are Ling Ma, Jia Tolentino, Jake Skeets and Jaqueria Díaz.

Past winners include Mount Holyoke alumna much-lauded playwright Suzan-Lori Parks ’85, as well as such luminaries as Tommy Pico, Brontez Purnell, Patty Yumi Cottrell, Rickey Laurentiis and Simone White.

Lawlor’s recent novel, “Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl,” has been widely recognized as a brilliant, innovative novel.

The award will enable Lawlor to devote more time to their writing.

“It’s so much more than the money,” they said. “It is having this organization supporting me, and to be in this cohort of amazing writers. It is unbelievable.”

Read more about Lawlor’s book and their teaching.