VSU professor is Georgia Author of the Year - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

VSU professor is Georgia Author of the Year

By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - A title as esteemed as 'Author of the Year' isn't often bestowed to writers after publishing just two books.  However, this was the case for Valdosta State University Professor Frederick Downing.

Dr. Downing has been named Author of the Year in Creative Non-Fiction by the Georgia Writers Association.

"It was very nice," says Downing.  "Even though I knew about it before-hand, I kept thinking 'Is this really going to happen?'"

Downing was honored for a biography he wrote on celebrated holocaust survivor and author, Elie Weisel.  Downing was intrigued by Weisel after reading his famous holocaust memoir, Night

"How he could come from the death camps to be called to Oslo and be given the Nobel Prize--that's an incredible journey," says Downing. 

Dr. Downing serves as head of Valdosta State's Philosophy and Religious Studies Department.  His colleagues believe the award will inspire students.

"I think it's most enlightening for students to see how the research of professors has an impact, not just in the classroom, but in the much broader academic community," says Dr. James LaPlant, Associate Professor of Valdosta State's College of Arts and Sciences.

Downing has been humbled by the honor.

"Being nominated for a prize like this is actually the great award," he says. 

When he's not teaching, Dr. Downing enjoys participating in archaeological excavations around the world.  A group of Downing's students even located the oldest iron smith workshop ever discovered in Israel.


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