Pulitzer-Winning Author, Urban-Planning Expert Join Bowdoin College Faculty

Richard Ford
Richard Ford

Story posted October 13, 2004

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford, and his wife, land-use and urban-planning expert Kristina Ford, will be joining the Bowdoin College faculty for three years, beginning Spring 2005.

Richard Ford will teach intermediate and advanced writing in the college's English department, while Kristina Ford will instruct students in land-use planning in the Environmental Studies program.

Richard Ford has published five novels and several story collections. He is best known for his novel Independence Day, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award in 1996. Kristina Ford, who most recently was executive director of city planning for the City of New Orleans, has taught and researched municipal planning and land use at institutions including New York University, Williams College, Rutgers and the University of Montana.

"We are tremendously fortunate to have the Fords on our faculty," said Bowdoin College President Barry Mills. "Richard is that rare breed of writer who is also an inspired teacher. Kristina has a truly distinguished record in both the worlds of policy and academe and joins a program that is gaining a national reputation for environmental leadership development."

Richard Ford credits a visit to Bowdoin College several years ago for spurring their interest in moving to East Boothbay, Maine, where they now make their year-round home. "I have a friend, [writer] Anthony Walton, who came to teach at Bowdoin," said Ford. "He asked me to come give a reading, so I came up and saw Bowdoin and thought it was a terrific place. Of all the places I've lived - and I've lived in a lot of places in America - Maine is the place I feel most comfortable."

Ford joins an English Department whose creative writing offerings have grown in recent years through the efforts of such distinguished faculty as writer and essayist Franklin Burroughs and Anthony Walton, highly acclaimed author of Mississippi, who is Bowdoin's writer-in-residence. A number of notable writers can trace the start of their literary careers to Bowdoin, including alumni Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne, among others.

Ford said he will continue to work on a much-awaited new novel while teaching at Bowdoin. The novel, which he plans to title Lay of the Land, is his third that features sportswriter-turned-real-estate-agent Frank Bascombe, the main character in Independence Day. Kristina Ford is working on her first book, a personal narrative and study of the attractions of public service.

Richard Ford has taught writing at Harvard and Princeton universities, Williams College, and most recently, at Northwestern University.

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