2014 Featured Presenters
Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in the New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent book is Fine Just the Way It Is. She lives in Wyoming.
(Photo credit: Gus Powell)
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Chris Abani's prose includes Song For Night, GraceLand, and Masters of the Board. His poetry collections include Sanctificum, Feed Me The Sun: Collected Long Poems, and Kalakuta Republic. He is a professor at the University of California Riverside and the recipient of the PEN Center USA Freedom to Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN/Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN/Hemingway Book Prize, and a Guggenheim fellowship.
Elizabeth Alexander is the author of two essay collections and six books of poetry, including Crave Radiance and American Sublime, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2009, she delivered her poem “Praise Song for the Day” at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Her many awards and honors include the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry and the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers. She is the chair of the Department of African American Studies at Yale University.
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Sherman Alexie is the author of, most recently, War Dances, stories and poems, and Face, poetry. He is the winner of the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award, 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, 2001 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story, and a Special Citation for the 1994 PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Fiction. Smoke Signals, the film he wrote and co-produced, won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.
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Coleman Barks has taught poetry and creative writing at the University of Georgia for thirty years. He is the author of numerous Rumi translations. His work with Rumi was the subject of an hour-long segment in Bill Moyers' Language of Life series on PBS, and he is a featured poet and translator in Bill Moyers' poetry special, "Fooling with Words." His own books of poetry include Winter Sky: Poems 1968-2008.
Frank Bidart’s most recent full-length collections of poetry are Metaphysical Dog, Watching the Spring Festival, Star Dust, Desire, and In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965–90. He has won many prizes, including the Wallace Stevens Award and the 2007 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. He teaches at Wellesley College.
(Photo credit: James Franco)
Richard Blanco’s first book, City of a Hundred Fires, received the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. His second book, Directions to The Beach of the Dead won the PEN/Beyond Margins Award. His third collection, Looking for The Gulf Motel, won the Paterson Poetry Prize and Thom Gunn Award from the Publishing Triangle. He stands as the youngest, first Latino, and first openly gay person to serve as the Presidential inaugural poet.
Natalie Diaz is Mojave and Pima. She was awarded 2012 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Literature Fellowship, a 2012 Lannan Residency, and a 2012 Lannan Literary Fellowship. Her first book, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published in June 2012.
Timothy Egan is the author of seven books, including The Worst Hard Time, winner of the 2006 National Book Award for nonfiction, and most recently Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher—The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis. Egan is an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, writing his ‘Opinionator’ feature weekly. As a correspondent for the Times, he shares a Pulitzer Prize with a team of reporters for their series, “How Race is Lived in America.”
Gretel Ehrlich is the author of thirteen books including The Solace of Open Spaces, Drinking Dry Clouds, A Blizzard Year, John Muir, and In the Empire of Ice. She is the recipient of PEN New England’s Henry David Thoreau Prize for Literary Excellence in Nature Writing, Bellagio and Guggenheim fellowships, the Whiting Writers’ Award, and grants from the NEH, NEA, and the National Geographic Society.
Ben Fountain is the author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His story collection Brief Encounters with Che Guevara received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and a Whiting Writers’ Award. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire, Harper's, and the Paris Review, and his nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere.
(Photo credit: Thorne Anderson)
Cristina García is the author of several novels, including The Agüero Sisters, winner of the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize; and Dreaming in Cuban, finalist for the National Book Award, and, most recently, King of Cuba. She has edited two anthologies, Bordering Fires: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a Literature and Cubanísimo: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature. Her other work includes three books for young readers and a collection of poetry, The Lesser Tragedy of Death.
Molly Gloss is the author of the novel The Jump-Off Creek, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and a winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Oregon Book Award; The Dazzle of Day, a New York Times Notable Book, and recipient of the PEN Center West Fiction Prize; Wild Life, winner of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award; and the national best seller, The Hearts of Horses. Other honors include a Whiting Writers’ Award and appearances in The Norton Book of Science Fiction and The Year’s Best Science Fiction.
Brad Gooch’s Flannery: A Biography of Flannery O’Connor was a 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and a New York Times notable book. His short story collection Jailbait and Other Stories won the 1985 Writer’s Choice Award, sponsored by the Pushcart Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts. A Guggenheim fellow in biography, he has received a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship and is a professor of English at William Paterson University. He is currently at work on a biography and translations of Rumi.
David Guterson is the author of five novels, including the PEN/Faulkner Award-winning Snow Falling on Cedars, two story collections, including the forthcoming Problems With People, and two works of non-fiction, Descent: A Memoir of Madness, and Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense. He will publish his first collection of poetry, Songs For A Summons, in the spring of 2014.
Joy Harjo has authored the memoir Crazy Brave; four CDs of music; books for children and young adults; and seven collections of poetry, including In Mad Love and War, recipient of an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. Her many honors include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and a Native American Music Award (NAMMY) for Best Female Artist of the Year.
Robert Hass served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. He is the author of many books of poetry, including Sun Under Wood, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Time and Materials, which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He has also written several volumes of criticism, including Twentieth Century Pleasures, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has translated many of Czeslaw Milosz’s works into English. He teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.
(Photo credit: Margaretta Mitchell)
Jane Hirshfield is the author of several books of poetry, including Given Sugar, Given Salt, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, the New Yorker, Poetry, and seven editions of The Best American Poetry. She received the 2012 Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Award in American Poetry and fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations. She was elected Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2012.
Gish Jen is the author of numerous award-winning novels, including World and Town, Mona In the Promised Land, The Love Wife, and Typical American, as well as a collection of stories, Who's Irish? Invited by Harvard University to deliver the Massey lectures in American Civilization, her lectures were recently published in a book entitled Tiger Writing: Art, Culture and the Interdependent Self. She is the recipient of the Lannan Award in Fiction as well as a Strauss Living Award and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Fady Joudah is a Palestinian American physician, poet, and translator. He is the recipient of the Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2013, for his translation of Ghassan Zaqtan's Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me. His collection The Earth in the Attic won the Yale Younger Poets prize, and his translations of Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry earned him a Banipal prize from the UK and a PEN Center USA Award in translation. Alight and the ebook Textu, which is composed on cell phone in character count, are his most recent poetry collections.
Rachel Kushner’s most recent novel, The Flamethrowers, was published in 2013. Her debut novel, Telex From Cuba, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times best seller and Notable Book. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Paris Review, and Believer. She is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow.
(Photo credit: Lucy Raven)
Erik Larson is the author of six books of nonfiction, four of which have gone on to become New York Times bestsellers, including, most recently, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin. His book The Devil in the White City won the Edgar Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award.He is also the author of Thunderstruck, Isaac’s Storm, Lethal Passage, and The Naked Consumer.
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Chang-rae Lee is the author of the novels Native Speaker, A Gesture Life, Aloft, and most recently, The Surrendered, which in 2011 won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. His new novel, On Such A Full Sea, is forthcoming. His other awards and citations include the PEN/Hemingway Award, the American Book Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the ALA Notable Book of the Year Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Academy in Rome. He is a professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University.
Ursula K. LeGuin
Ursula K. Le Guin has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry, four of translation, and has received many honors and awards including the Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction. Her most recent publications are Finding My Elegy (New and Selected Poems, 1960-2010) and The Unreal and the Real (Selected Short Stories).
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Barry Lopez is the author of Arctic Dreams, for which he received the National Book Award. His other nonfiction books include About This Life and Of Wolves and Men, which was a National Book Award finalist. He is also the author of several award-winning works of fiction, including Field Notes, Winter Count, and a novella-length fable, Crow and Weasel. His recent work includes Light Action in the Caribbean, a collection of stories, and Resistance, a book of interrelated stories.
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Harryette Mullen has published seven collections of poetry, including Recyclopedia: Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge, winner of a PEN Beyond Margins Award; Sleeping with the Dictionary, a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award; and most recently, Urban Tumbleweed: Notes from a Tanka Diary. The recipient of the 2010 Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Academy of American Poets, she is professor of English and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Sharon Olds is the author of eleven books of poetry, most recently Stag's Leap, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize, and The Secret Thing. She has won the National Book Critics Circle Award and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA. She teaches at NYU’s Creative Writing Program and is the founding director of the NYU writing workshop at Goldwater Hospital in NYC.
(Photo credit: Catherine Mauger)
Lucia Perillo is the author of six books of poetry, including Inseminating the Elephants, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Other honors include the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a MacArthur Fellowship. She currently resides in Olympia, Washington.
Carl Phillips is the author of twelve books of poetry, most recently Silverchest and Double Shadow, recipient of the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry and a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award. Awarded a 2006 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry, a Pushcart Prize, and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and professor of English and African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also teaches in the Creative Writing Program.
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Christopher Ricks teaches at Boston University, having previously taught at Oxford, Bristol, and Cambridge. He was the Professor of Poetry at Oxford, 2004-2009. He is the author of Dylan’s Visions of Sin and editor of Tennyson, Henry James, T.S. Eliot, and The Oxford Book of English Verse. He has authored books on Milton, Tennyson, Keats, Beckett, Eliot, and others. A two-volume critical edition of the poems of Eliot, which he co-edited with Jim McCue, is forthcoming.
Mary Ruefle is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Trances of the Blast and Indeed I Was Pleased with the World. Her book Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award and her Selected Poems won the 2011 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is also an erasure artist, whose treatments of nineteenth century texts have been exhibited in museums and galleries and published in her book A Little White Shadow. She teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College.
(Photo credit: Matt Valentine)
Eva Saulitis, a writer and marine biologist, has studied the killer whales of Prince William Sound, Alaska for twenty-five years. She is the author of a book of essays Leaving Resurrection: Chronicles of a Whale Scientist, the poetry collection Many Ways to Say It, and Into Great Silence: A Memoir of Discovery and Loss among Vanishing Orcas. She has received fellowships from the Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska State Council on the Arts and is an associate professor in the University of Alaska Low-Residency MFA program.
Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Our Andromeda, a finalist for the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize. Her other books are Human Dark with Sugar, winner of the James Laughlin Award, and Interior with Sudden Joy. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Harpers, McSweeney’s, the Nation, the New Yorker, and the Paris Review. She is a 2013 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and assistant professor of English in the MFA Program at Rutgers University at Newark.
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Gary Snyder, best known as a poet, is an essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist. He is the author of over twenty books, including Turtle Island, winner of the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. He served for many years as a faculty member at the University of California, Davis and has been a translator of ancient Chinese and modern Japanese literary texts into English.
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Amy Tan’s novels are The Joy Luck Club, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, and Saving Fish from Drowning, all New York Times bestsellers. She is also the author of a memoir, The Opposite of Fate, two children’s books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat, and numerous articles for magazines. Her work has been translated into thirty-five languages. Her most recent novel is The Valley of Amazement.
Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels including The Blackwater Lightship; The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; and The Testament of Mary, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, he is currently Mellon Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
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Anne Waldman is the author of more than forty books, including Fast Speaking Woman and Vow to Poetry, a collection of essays, and The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment, an epic poem and twenty-five-year project. With Allen Ginsberg she co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, where she is a Distinguished Professor of Poetics. She received a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, and has recently been appointed a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. (Photo credit: Greg Fuchs)
Tobias Wolff’s books include the memoirs This Boy’s Life and In Pharaoh’s Army; the novels The Barracks Thief and Old School, and four collections of short stories, including In the Garden of the North American Martyrs, and, most recently, Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories. His work is translated widely and has received the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Malamud Award. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the Humanities at Stanford.
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Dean Young is the author of fourteen books, including Fall Higher, The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction, and Elegy on Toy Piano. His work has been honored as finalists for both the Pulitzer Prize and Griffin Poetry Prize, and his most recent collection, Bender: New and Selected, was on the Los Angeles Times’ “Best of 2012” list. He is the William Livingston Chair of Poetry at the University of Texas in Austin.
Ghassan Zaqtan is a poet, novelist, editor, and playwright. He is founding director of the House of Poetry in Ramallah, Palestine, and has served as director general of the Palestinian Ministry of Culture’s Literature and Publishing Department. His first collection to be translated into English, Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, won the Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2013.
AWP Award Series Readers
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Julian Hoffman won the 2012 AWP Award Series Prize in Creative Nonfiction for The Small Heart: Being at Home in a Beckoning World. His essay “Faith in a Forgotten Place,” won the 2011 Terrain.org Nonfiction Prize. Other writing has recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in Kyoto Journal, Southern Humanities Review, EarthLines, Flyway, Three Coyotes, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and the Redwood Coast Review.
Joan Naviyuk Kane
Joan Naviyuk Kane received AWP’s 2012 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry for her collection Hyperboreal. Her first collection of poetry, The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife, received a 2009 Whiting Writers’ Award. She received a 2004 John Haines Award from Ice Floe Press, a 2007 individual artist award from the Rasmuson Foundation, the 2009 Connie Boochever Fellowship from the Alaska State Council on the Arts, a 2009 National Native Creative Development Program grant, and the 2010 Alaska Conservation Foundation’s Native Writers on the Environment award.
Andrew Ladd’sfirst novel, What Ends, won the 2012 AWP Award Series Prize for the Novel, and was also a semifinalist in the 2012 Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award. His short fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Apalachee Review, CICADA, and Paper Darts, and his essays in Memoir (and), Open Letters Monthly, PANK’s “This Modern Writer” series, and the Rumpus. A Book Reviews Editor for the Ploughshares Blog, he writes for a living.
Lucas Southworth’s first book, Everyone Here Has a Gun, a collection of short stories, won AWP’s 2012 Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction. He is also a co-partner and editor of Slash Pine Press, an initiative that specializes in community outreach and publishing chapbooks with undergraduate interns. His stories have appeared in Mid-American Review, West Branch, PANK, and Willow Springs. He received his MFA in fiction from the University of Alabama, where he is an Instructor in English.