English professor wins international award for novel

Paul Watson

Author and WKU associate professor of English, David Bell has already published five novels, earning commercial and critical success. Now, he’s won an international award.

Last month, Bell won the prestigious Prix Polar International du Cognac of France for his 2011 novel, “Cemetery Girl.” The award is given to the best non-French crime or mystery novel.

“It’s one of France’s most prestigious crime writing awards,” Bell said.

Bell said the prize committee is sending him a trophy and a 50-year-old bottle of Cognac. Despite the excitement, Bell said he wasn’t letting any of it go to his head.

“Writers can’t get hung up on awards,” Bell said. “If you live for awards, you will be disappointed. Writers have to live in the now.”

However, Bell said this doesn’t mean he wasn’t celebrating.

“It’s nice to have an award,” Bell said. “It’s a huge honor to receive that validation, and it feels really good.”

Samantha Tackett, a senior creative writing student who is in Bell’s Intermediate Fiction Writing class, expressed her respect for Bell and satisfaction with him as a teacher.

“Dr. Bell has a deep love and talent for writing,” Tackett said. “You can see it through the way he conducts his class.”

The prize also didn’t seem to be slowing down the speed of Bell’s work. His most recent novel, “Never Come Back,” hit bookstores in October.

“Never Come Back” revolves around a main character who discovers that her recently deceased mother had a lot of buried secrets. Bell has been traveling extensively in the past month to readings and promotional events for the novel.

Amongst the excitement of his book release and winning the Prix du Cognac, Bell is putting the finishing touches on an unfinished novel called, “The Forgotten Girl,” to be released in 2014.

“And I’m working on ideas for one to come after that,” he said.