Clifford Thompson Wins a 2013 Whiting Writers' Award
iUniverse, an Author Solutions LLC imprint and a leading supported self-publishing provider, announced today that Clifford Thompson, who self-published "Signifying Nothing" through iUniverse, has been named one of ten recipients of the 2013 Whiting Writers' Awards.
The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation bestows the awards annually upon ten emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and plays "based on accomplishment and promise," with each winner receiving a $50,000 prize. All authors are nominated anonymously, only discovering their consideration upon being informed by the Foundation that they've been chosen for the honor.
"Signifying Nothing," which Thompson self-published with iUniverse in 2009, focuses on the family of a 19-year-old, mentally challenged mute man named Lester Hobbs. One day, Lester suddenly begins rapping at the top of his lungs-a development that has a profound effect on the Hobbs family. His siblings and parents struggle to understand the meaning behind Lester's new ability.
"Perhaps understandably, even though I was the writer, it took me a while to connect Lester with my late grandmother, who lived with my family when I was growing up," Thompson said. "My grandmother, whom I loved dearly, was the person in our family around whom everything had to be planned, because she was very old and nearly deaf and couldn't be left at home by herself. 'Signifying Nothing' is not autobiographical in the usual sense, but I would say it was influenced by my life experiences."
An editor by trade, Thompson stated that writing is what he lives to do. In addition to publishing another book, Thompson has placed essays on literature, film, jazz, and other subjects in publications including The Threepenny Review, Commonweal, Cineaste, Film Quarterly, The Iowa Review, Black Issues Book Review, and The Best American Movie Writing. A Washington, DC-born graduate of Oberlin College, with a bachelor's in creative writing, Thompson said his true literary education occurred on the subways of New York City, his home since the 1980s.