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Professor Ross Gay wins Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

Professor Ross Gay is the winner of the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. One of the most prestigious awards in poetry, the honor carries with it a $100,000 prize. While many literary awards recognize a single published work or a successful writing career, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award was created to honor mid-career poets and provide them the means to continue working toward the pinnacle of their craft.

Gay's latest collection, "Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude," was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2015 as part of the acclaimed Pitt Poetry Series. It was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award, the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2015 NAACP Image Awards, all in poetry categories.

The publisher described "Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude" as 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. Gay's deeply rooted connections to the land go beyond verse. In Bloomington, he serves on the board of directors for the Bloomington Community Orchard.

"It is my great pleasure to commend Ross Gay on the Kingsley Tufts Award for his book, 'Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude,'" said Bob Bledsoe, director of the Creative Writing Program at IU Bloomington and the Indiana University Writers' Conference.

Read the full press release here.
Ross Gay named National Book Awards Finalist

Ross Gay's “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude” (Pitt Poetry Series/University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) is a finalist for the 2015 National Book Awards.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in New York on November 18th.

Congratulations, Ross!

Read more:
Jacqueline Jones LaMon Elected President of Cave Canem Foundation

The Cave Canem Foundation, North America’s premier home for black poetry, is pleased to announce that Jacqueline Jones LaMon (MFA, '06) has been elected to serve as the organization’s next president. She succeeds Cave Canem co-founder Toi Derricotte, who held the office from February 1997 to late September 2015. Derricotte will continue to serve on the board as a director.

Reflecting on the work ahead, LaMon says, “In our next phase of development, Cave Canem’s board, staff and stakeholders will build on the solid groundwork established by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady, continuing to advance the organization as the premier center and home for African American poetries.” She sees her two-year term as president as an opportunity to “strengthen Cave Canem’s infrastructure and ensure a healthy foundation for decades to come—emphasizing our creative excellence, shaping our legacy of mentorship, and promoting entrepreneurial leadership.”

LaMon is the author of two award-winning collections of poetry, most recently, Last Seen (University of Wisconsin Press), and a novel, In the Arms of One Who Loves Me (Ballantine Books). An Associate Professor at Adelphi University, where she teaches in the multi-genre MFA program, she has received fellowships from Yaddo Foundation, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Read the full press release here.
2015 Writer in South Asia

In late July, 2015, Indiana University MFA students Cherae Clark and Dan Minty joined Samrat Upadhyay on a two-week trip to South Asia, where they engaged in a variety of literary and cultural activities. Titled The Writer in South Asia, the project aims to transform the travelers’ writing by forcing it to engage with a broader social and political sphere and deepen their sense of being ‘writers of the world.’ At the IU India Office in Gurgaon, they participated in literary panels and held workshops with young writers from the Delhi area. After a trip to Taj Mahal in Agra and the Pink City of Jaipur, they traveled to Nepal, where they continued their literary and cultural
explorations: participating in the award ceremony of the Writing Nepal story contest, which was sponsored and judged by Samrat Upadhyay; leading workshops with students at the Buddhanilkantha School and with young professionals at Edushala; and roaming around the architecturally rich cities of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur.

See more pictures here on the IUB English Facebook page.
Ming Holden Wins 49th Parallel Award

Ming Holden (MFA, 2013) is the winner of the 2015 49th Parallel Award for Poetry, awarded by the Bellingham Review for her poem, "For My Aspirated." For the complete press release from the Bellingham Review, including (effusive!) judge's comments, click here:

Well done, Ming!
Aguilar, Clark Provincetown Fellows

Leslie Aguilar (Poetry) and Tia Clark (Fiction) have each been selected to receive prestigious residency fellowships to the Fine Arts Works Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts next year. This is a highly selective invitation to one of the most distinguished Arts Colonies in the country with a remarkable roster of previous recipients.

The Work Center founders envisioned a place in Provincetown, the country’s most enduring artists’ colony, where artists and writers could live and work together in the early phase of their careers. The founders believed that the freedom to pursue creative work within a community of peers is the best catalyst for artistic growth. The Work Center has dedicated itself to this mission for over 40 years.

Today the Work Center is a leading long-term
residency program for emerging artists and writers and one of the most renowned. Each year the Work Center offers residencies – the gift of time, space and community – to twenty Fellows selected from some 1,100 applications worldwide. From October to May, the Work Center gives the Fellows living and workspace, a modest stipend and each other. The only thing asked in return is that they focus on new work while they are in residence.

Leslie and Tia: We believe in you; we are proud of you; and we are happy for you. Congratulations on this extraordinary honor.
Whale Chaser Paperback Release

Chicago Review Press has just released Tony Ardizzone's novel, The Whale Chaser, in paperback, just in time for summer reading lists. It is a novel about leaving the midwest behind for a new start in the Pacific Northwest, and learning how to put the scattered pieces of one's life back together in a way that makes sense. As one reviewer writes: "Heartbreaking yet compassionate, his novel takes the reader on a journey toward acceptance and the rightness of the natural universe. The Whale Chaser encompasses but ultimately transcends a coming-of-age novel, a love story, and 1960s period fiction in its exploration of the human experience, of fate and free will, of learning when to let go."

Now available in paperback:
Upadhyay Short-Listed for Open Award

Samrat Upadhyay, Martha C. Kraft Professor of Humanities, is one of the many PEN Literary Award finalists announced April 16 for his novel The City Son.

Among the other finalists for prizes in nine different categories were Cynthia Bond, whose debut novel, “Ruby” was an Oprah Book Club pick; poet Claudia Rankine, whose “Citizen: An American Lyric” nabbed a National Book Critics Circle Award last month; Leslie Jamison for her essay collection, “The Empathy Exams”; and S.C. Gwynne for “Rebel Yell,” his biography of Civil War general Stonewall Jackson.

Most of the winners will be announced on May 13, and the awards will be presented at a ceremony in New York on June 8. This year PEN is giving 19 awards, fellowships, grants and prizes equaling almost $150,000. PEN's Open Book Award, for which Uphadyay is under consideration, recognizes "an exceptional book-length work of literature by an author of color published in 2014." This year's finalists, in addition to Upadhyay and Rankine are: Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman; Teju Cole, Every Day is for the Thief; and Roxanne Gay, An Untamed State.
Ross Gay Awarded Radcliffe Fellowship

Ross Gay has been selected for a Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University for the 2015-16 academic year. Previous winners have included: Junot Diaz, Geraldine Brooks, and Natasha Trethewey. This is a significant and well-deserved honor, as well as an extraordinary opportunity for Ross. Congratulations!
Coming this fall...

Reaktion Press has begun advertising Alyce Miller’s contribution to their Animal series, Skunk, available for pre-order in advance of a November release date. Animal is a pioneering series from Reaktion Books. The first of its kind to explore the historical significance and impact on humans of a wide range of animals, each book in the series takes a different animal and examines its role in history around the world. The importance of mythology, religion and science are described as is the history of food, the trade in animals and their products, pets, exhibition, film and photography, and their roles in the artistic and literary imagination. This series has rapidly become a touchstone resource for scholars and the general public interested in animal studies. Skunk joins a crowded menagerie of fascinating beasts and fascinated scholars.

Read more about Skunk (including ordering information) here: