WCSU M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing program opens fourth Housatonic Book Awards nomination period

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing program opened the fourth Housatonic Book Awards in cooperation with the MFA Alumni Writer’s Cooperative (AWC) in mid-March. The awards will honor one recipient in each of four areas: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and writing for middle grades and young adults. Books published in 2015 and 2016 are eligible in fiction, and books published in 2016 are eligible in all other categories. The fiction award alternates between literary fiction and genre fiction; this year’s fiction award will go to a work of genre fiction. Any author, publisher, editor or literary agent may nominate a title in any of the four genres before the deadline on Thursday, June 15, 2017. The recipient in each category will receive $1,500, will give a public reading, and will conduct a workshop with MFA students.

The mission of the awards is to promote excellent writing, to identify authors who serve as professional role models for writing students, and to develop the WCSU M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing program scholarship fund. Recipients of the awards will appear on the WCSU campus in January and August, during the M.F.A. program’s residency periods, according to M.F.A. Coordinator Brian Clements.

The 2016 winners were M.O. Walsh for his fiction title “My Sunshine Away,” Reginald Dwayne Betts for his poetry collection “Bastards of the Reagan Era,” Brandon Brown for his nonfiction title “Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War” and Ann Jacobus for her young-adult title “Romancing the Dark in the City of Light.” Brown and Jacobus will appear at the August 2017 residency in Danbury.    

The awards were first conceived upon the formation of the M.F.A.’s alumni group in January 2014. The AWC and the M.FA. program operate the awards and select the winners following the Ethical Guidelines of the Council of Literary Magazines and Publishers. The deadline for nominations is Thursday, June 15, after which the AWC will select finalists. Recipients of the awards will be announced in October.

Nomination guidelines are available at http://housatonicbookawards.wordpress.com/. For more information, contact Brian Clements at (203) 837-8876 or clementsb@wcsu.edu.




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