UMW English Professor Awarded National Fellowship

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Allison Seay, faculty member in the English department at the University of Mary Washington, has been named a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in poetry for 2013. The $25,000 award will allow Seay, a 2002 graduate of Mary Washington, to work on a second collection of poetry. Her first book of poetry, “To See the Queen,” is scheduled for publication in March 2013. “It really is such a thrill,” Seay said about the award. “It’s unbelievable, especially looking at the list of my fellow poets. I’m flattered to be in the company of talent like that.” Seay was one of 40 poets chosen from more than 1,100 applicants. The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded creative writing fellowships since 1967, providing writers the time and freedom to pursue their work. Seay served as UMW’s Arrington Poet-in-Residence during the spring 2012 semester, during which time she taught the advanced poetry workshop and the creative writing seminar. A … [Read more...]

UMW English Professor’s Novel Lauded as “Best Book of 2012″

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University of Mary Washington Professor of English Steve Watkins’ 2011 young adult novel “What Comes After” has been named to Bank Street’s list of 2012 Best Books of the Year. “What Comes After” is one of 46 books in the category for children older than 14-years-old. The Bank Street College of Education chose the books for the annual list based on several criteria, including literary quality and the potential emotional impact of the books on young readers. Bank Street is a private institution composed of children’s programs, a graduate school and a research and policy initiative. Watkins’ novel also is a finalist for the 2012-2013 Georgia Peach Book Award, given by the Georgia Library Media Association, Georgia Library Association, Georgia Public Library Service and the Georgia Education Association. Watkins is one of 20 nominees in the teen readers category. Teens will read and rate the books to determine the winner of the award, which will be announced in April 2013. “What … [Read more...]

UMW Arrington Poet-in-Residence Wins Prize for Poetry Collection

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University of Mary Washington Arrington Poet-in-Residence Allison Seay ’02 has received the 2012 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry. The award is a collaboration between Persea Books and the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project to sponsor the annual publication of a poetry collection by an American woman poet who has yet to publish a full-length book of poems. The winner receives an advance of $1,000 and publication of her collection by Persea Books. Seay won the prize for her collection of poetry, “To See the Queen,” scheduled for publication in April 2013. As the Arrington Poet-in-Residence, Seay teaches the advanced poetry workshop and the creative writing seminar in poetry at Mary Washington. A Midlothian, Va., native, she is the recipient of the 2011 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, one of the largest awards offered to aspiring poets in the United States, and two fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, … [Read more...]

UMW English Professor Receives Fellowship From Virginia Commission for the Arts

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Steve Watkins, professor of English at the University of Mary Washington, is a recipient of a 2011-2012 Artist Fellowship from the Virginia Commission for the Arts. The Virginia Commission of the Arts awards fellowships annually to artists residing in Virginia in recognition of creative excellence and to support their pursuit of artistic excellence. Watkins is one of four Virginia artists honored in the field of fiction. Each artist will receive a fellowship of $5,000. Watkins is the author of “Down Sand Mountain,” winner of the 2009 Golden Kite Award for Fiction from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as “What Comes After,” a young adult novel published in 2011. His young adult novel “Juvie” is scheduled for publication in fall 2013. Watkins also is the author of a short story collection, “My Chaos Theory,” a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize and an honorable mention for the Library of Virginia Fiction Award. His non-fiction book “The Black O: … [Read more...]

Where Great Minds Get Creative

Colin Rafferty, professor of English

Fourteen students recently sat in a circle in a University of Mary Washington classroom, framed by the view of falling leaves outside the large window. Some students rested their hands on laptops, others opted for the traditional stacks of papers and books. A handful of reusable water bottles and half-empty coffee cups decorated the otherwise sparse table. With the precision of scientists and the careful eye of artists, the group spent nearly an hour dissecting the original work of two students in the class. The professor sat in the circle with the students, guiding the discussion at forks in the road, careful not to dictate the direction. Once the critique drew to a close, applause erupted, as if to pay homage to the artistic endeavor. The scene offered a glimpse into the intricate creative writing process where tone, structure and narrative reign. “We never get to see writers in the act of writing, the way we can with actors or musicians or dancers,” said Colin … [Read more...]