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Miller Awarded Gilchrist Prize

Alyce Miller has been named the inaugural winner of the Ellen Gilchrist Prize in Short Fiction for her short story "Missing." Her work will be published in the March 2015 issue of China Grove, the literary magazine published by China Grove Press.

The Prize is named for Ellen Gilchrist, 1984 American Book Award Winner for Victory Over Japan, recognized as one of the premier writers of short stories in American literature.

China Grove is a literary collection published
semi-annually by China Grove Press, curated by editors Scott Anderson and Luke Lampton. The publication features a mix of fiction, poetry, essays, art, historical artifacts, interviews, and analysis.

For more information, or to order past or current issues of China Grove, visit
Aguilar wins NDR Chapbook Competition

Leslie Aguilar (3rd year Poet) has been named the winner of the 2014-15 New Delta Review's Chapbook Contest. Michael Martone said of her entry, Mesquite Manual: "The book, like its titular subject, is tough and delicate, aromatic, evasive and invasive. This manual instructs us to take apart the tenacious mysteries of this desert world and reassemble them into the sweet transpiring forage of lucid dreams." Congratulations, Leslie!
Unabashed Gratitude

Brighten your day. Brighten your bookshelves. Ross Gay has published another collection of poems.

“ . . . this is as delicate/as we can be/in this life/practicing/like this . . . ”

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude is a sustained meditation on that which goes away—loved ones, the seasons, the earth as we know it—that tries to find solace in the processes of the garden and the orchard. That is, this is a book that studies the wisdom of the garden and orchard, those places where all—death, sorrow, loss—is converted into what might, with patience, nourish us.

Thank you, Ross.

Since its inception in 1967, the Pitt Poetry Series has been a vehicle for America’s finest contemporary poets. The series list includes Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Toi Derricotte, Denise Duhamel, Lynn Emanuel, Bob Hicok, Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Ted Kooser, Larry Levis, Sharon Olds, Alicia Suskin Ostriker, Virgil Suárez, Afaa Michael Weaver, David Wojahn, Dean Young, and many others.

Throughout its history, the Pitt Poetry Series has provided a voice for the diversity that is American poetry, representing poets from many backgrounds without allegiance to any one school or style.
Matejka 2014 Lannan Fellow

"Where there's smoke, there's fire."

And the author of The Big Smoke remains on fire. Last week, Adrian Matejka was a finalist for the 2014 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award in Poetry (kudos to Amaud Jamal Johnson who won for his collection, Darktown Follies). This week, he raised the bar again, when he received the 2014 Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry:

Lannan Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity through projects which support exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired Native activists in rural indigenous communities.

The Foundation recognizes the profound and often unquantifiable value of the creative process and is willing to take risks and make substantial investments in ambitious and experimental thinking.

The Foundation also gives awards and fellowships to writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and in the area of cultural freedom. Awards recognize individuals for extraordinary work in their fields.
Mattawa Named MacArthur Fellow

"Those who think creativity is dying should examine the life’s work of these extraordinary innovators who work in diverse fields and in different ways to improve our lives and better our world,” said Cecilia Conrad, Vice President, MacArthur Fellows Program. “Together, they expand our view of what is possible, and they inspire us to apply our own talents and imagination.”

Among those to whom Conrad was referring as she introduced the 2014 recipients of MacArthur Foundation Fellowship's was our own Khaled Mattawa, who received his MFA in poetry here in 1994. Mattawa's work in translation, transnationalism and Arab and Arab-American poetry makes important contributions to a better understanding of the important role art has to play in cultural mediation. The MacArthur Foundation Fellowships are among the most prestigious accolades in the academic world. Congratulations, Khaled!

Read more about Prof. Mattawa's work and the MacArthur Foundation here:
Upadhyay's latest novel, The City Son, "not for the faint of heart"

Samrat Upadhyay's latest novel, The City Son, has just been released by independent New York publisher, Soho Press, and is already garnering significant attention. The Wall Street Journal review notes "There's an eerie element of black magic in Didi's Svengali-like manipulation that evokes the domestic horror novels of Shirley Jackson. This superb book stages an intensely powerful showdown.”

“The Big Smoke” short-listed for Pulitzer

Adrian Matejka’s The Big Smoke earned yet another significant accolade last week, when it was announced as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, one of America’s foremost literary awards. A distinguished three-person panel (this year’s panel consisted of a poet, an editor, and a critic) select, each year, three books of poetry, from whom the 18-person Pulitzer Board selects one as the annual award recipient; to have emerged as one of only three finalists from the hundreds of nominated books is a tremendous honor. You can read an interview about the process with one of this year’s selectors here.

In a recent interview, Adrian said of the recent honors garnered by The Big Smoke: “These recognitions are wonderful affirmations for ‘The Big Smoke’ and Jack Johnson’s story . . . in many ways, each of those accolades points back to Johnson, as it should, since I wrote the book trying to bring his story into the contemporary dialogue of race and politics. It’s humbling and extraordinary at the same time.” Read the full interview here.

There are times for humility and times for justifiable pride; this is one of the latter times, and all of us at Indiana offer our heartfelt congratulations to Adrian for his achievement.
"Townsend’s writing full of fresh turns of phrase and keen insights"

The headline above is taken from a review by Ayana Mathis in the most recent Sunday Review of Books from the New York Times. Congratulations, Jacinda, on this positive notice of your "compelling debut."

Read the review here.
Matejka wins Guggenheim Fellowship

Poet Adrian Matejka’s Annus Mirabilis keeps rolling along, as he has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2014-15. The Guggenheim is a prestigious fellowship awarded to “men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.” Congratulations to Adrian; this accolade is first and foremost an individual honor, but it also reflects well on the Creative Writing Program and on the English Department as a whole. Adrian’s most recent honor continues an especially strong recent run of success by the English Department, and by our poets in particular: three years ago, poet Maurice Manning and scholar George Hutchinson were each awarded fellowships; and just last year poet Ross Gay and scholar Rob Fulk were each awarded fellowships. Congratulations, Adrian, on another well-deserved honor.
Matejka wins 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Award

Congratulations once again to Adrian Matejka for more honors garnered by The Big Smoke.
Last fall, the book was short-listed for a National Book Award; today it was announced as one of the winners of this year’s Anisfield-Wolf Award, presented each year since 1935 by the Cleveland Public Library to celebrate "books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity." This is arguably the country’s foremost literary award specifically keyed to works that highlight issues of social justice. Among the many distinguished winners recognized for individual titles, Adrian joins such figures as Zora Neale Hurston, John Hersey, Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maxine Hong Kingston, Wole Soyinka, Toni Morrison, Nadine Gordimer, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Sandra Cisneros, Jamaica Kincaid, and more recently, Junot Diaz, who will visit here next week. Since 1996, the awards jury has been chaired by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who described Adrian’s book as “a collection of poems on the myth and unapologetic masculinity of the first African-American heavyweight champion, Jack Johnson."