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Liam Callanan ’86 Wins George W. Hunt Prize for Contributions to Literary World

The George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts & Letter awards journalists or authors for their literary achievements and display of George Hunt’s rigor, order and discipline. Writing three fictional novels and several articles for 17 different publishers, Liam Callanan ’86 received the George W. Hunt Prize.

The George W. Hunt Prize recognized Callanan’s literary accomplishments. Callanan was surprised and honored that he won an award for his writings.

“I felt dumbfounded—and a little awestruck,” Callanan said.  “It’s named in honor of a legendary Jesuit editor and author and the prior winners are remarkable people. Just to have my name mentioned in the midst of these folks is intimidating.”

Callanan’s experience in English helped him achieve the award. English teachers engaged Callanan in literature.

“I’m forever indebted to my English teachers, especially my senior year teacher, Ms. Sylvia Rousseve, who introduced me to some amazing books, including William Kennedy’s Ironweed,” Callanan said.

Loyola’s faculty inspired Callanan to pursue his career of writing and journalism. Loyola’s principal, the Rev. Gordon Bennett S.J., inspired Callanan to explore literature.

Callanan said, “Father, now Bishop Gordon Bennett, S.J., was and is an inspiration. He loved language and still does. That love was infectious and powerful. I still recall him coming into our classroom and reciting and discussing the poet John Donne.”

Growing a passion for reading and writing, Callanan joined The Loyalist. His work on the paper allowed him to experience journalism.

After graduating from Loyola, Callanan attended Yale University. He then went to graduate schools at Georgetown University and George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, to study English. His experiences at the universities led Callanan to love teaching and writing.

“I’m currently a professor in the English department at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and the author of four books—three novels and one story collection,” Callanan said.

Callanan wrote several novels. Notable literary works include “The Cloud Atlas,” “All Saints,” “Listen,” and “Paris by the Book”. His works have been, or are in the process of, being translated into Chinese.

In addition to individual novels, Callanan wrote for various major publications. National and local publishments Callanan contributed to include the Wall Street Journal, The Awl,  the New York Times Book Review, the Times op-ed page, the Washington Post Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and Milwaukee Magazine.


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