We were pleased to learn that the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was awarded to International School Bangkok (ISB) alumnus, Richard Powers, who attended our school from 1967-1972.
Over the course of his career, Powers became a prolific and highly respected author, winning several major literary prizes (including a coveted National Book Award for his earlier book The Echo Maker).
A group of avid readers in the ISB community are currently enjoying Powers’ novel “The Overstory,” which was described by the Pulitzer judges as “an ingeniously structured narrative that branches and canopies like the trees at the core of the story whose wonder and connectivity echo those of the humans living amongst them.”
One of America’s most celebrated contemporary authors
Powers is the author of a dozen novels. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2010. His work has earned near-universal praise, from literary figures like Margaret Atwood, to major philosophers such as Daniel C. Dennett. In addition to the aforementioned books, several of his other novels have been among the finalists for major literary prizes.
Originally from Evanston, Illinois, Richard came to Thailand with his family in 1967. His father, Dr. Richard Powers, had accepted a position as the Elementary School Principal at the ISB campus in the Bangsue area of Bangkok. During his time in Thailand, he developed his skill in vocal music along with proficiency in cello, guitar, saxophone, and clarinet. He also became an avid reader, primarily enjoying nonfiction in addition to classics such as the Iliad and the Odyssey.
“ISB was a deep and formative experience for me, and I treasure the years I had there,” shared Powers.
Returning to Illinois in 1972, Powers attended high school in DeKalb, Illinois. He would go on to earn a BA in 1978 and an MA in Literature in 1980 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since 1980, he has written 12 novels which have garnered him world-wide recognition.
A foundation for success
We at ISB have been thrilled to follow Powers’ literary career over the years. He exemplifies all of the current ISB attributes, and offers a clear expression of the school’s values as well.
We congratulate this amazing ISB alumnus, certainly one of America’s most celebrated contemporary authors. He belongs to a long line of remarkable ISB graduates, who have gone on to make valuable contributions to culture and society around the world.
We hope to enjoy many more of his books in the future!