Tom Grimes’ memoir ‘Mentor’ finalist for PEN Award

By Paige Wilkerson
University News Service
September 9, 2011

Tom Grimes, director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Texas State University-San Marcos, was recently nominated as a finalist for the 2011 PEN Center USA Creative Nonfiction Award for his book, Mentor: A Memoir.

The Literary Awards will be presented during the 21st Annual Literary Awards Festival at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The PEN Center USA Literary Awards are designed to recognize the best writing in the western states.

Mentor: A Memoir was named one of the top non-fiction books of the year by the Washington Post. It was also chosen as one of the top 25 non-fiction books of the year and one of the best memoirs of the year by Kirkus Reviews.

In Grimes’s Mentor: A Memoir, a chance encounter between two writers, one young, one older, develops into a friendship neither expected. Frank Conroy, author of the classic memoir Stop-Time, meets Tom Grimes, an aspiring writer and an applicant to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, which Conroy directs. First as teacher and student--and gradually as friends—their lives become entwined, and through both successes and disappointments, their bond deepens. Mentor explores the writing life and the role of a very important teacher in a way that is honest and heartbreaking.

Grimes is also the author of novels A Stone of the Heart, Season’s End, City of God, and Redemption Song, which was serialized in Narrative magazine.