Friday, September 30, 2016

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram wins Narrative Magazine Poetry Contest

Congrats to MFA alum Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, who was named first-place winner of the 8th annual Narrative Magazine Poetry Contest! The first place winner receives $1500 and publication in Narrative Magazine.

Professor Janice Harrington publishes third poetry collection

Primitive, the new poetry collection from Professor Janice N. Harrington, is just out from BOA Editions. A lyrical and biographical reflection on the art and life of Horace H. Pippin—the best-known African American artist of his time—Primitive offers a searching critique of the condescension to African American folk art as supposedly “primitive,” and it also critiques the underestimation of African American life and imagination in the broader American consciousness.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Alumni news

Two of our Creative Writing alums have recently been honored with writing awards:

Nafissa Thompson-Spires (MFA '15) was awarded 1st place in StoryQuarterly's fifth annual Fiction Prize for her story “Heads of the Colored People: Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlines, and No Apology.”

Sean McIntyre (MFA '14) was named 1st place winner of Glimmer Train's "Family Matters" story competition, for his story "The Pinch."

Congrats to Nafissa and Sean!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Joy Harjo Wins 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from Academy of American Poets

Professor Joy Harjo has been awarded this year's Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. The Academy's highest honor, the Wallace Stevens Award is given annually for "outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry" and carries a $100,000 prize. Past winners have included W. S. Merwin, Louise Gl├╝ck, Galway Kinell, and Philip Levine. Congratulations, Professor Harjo!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Recent faculty publications

Over the summer, our faculty members' work has appeared in a number of publications--

Janice N. Harrington's poem "Reverie" was published in the Summer 2015 issue of The Southern Review
Alex Shakar's story "In the Flesh, We Shone" appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of Ploughshares

"32 Things I Learned from My Bike Ride Last Sunday," by Julie Price, appeared at McSweeney's

"Something You Can Use: The Writer's Self-Healing Wound," by Philip Graham, was featured at The Millions

Christine Sneed's "Publish a Book and Change Your Life, or, Well, Maybe Not" appeared at The Billfold

Friday, April 3, 2015

University of Illinois 2015 Creative Writing Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of the University of Illinois Graduate and Undergraduate Creative Writing Awards for 2015!

Winners of the Graduate Awards are the following:
  • Katherine Scott Nelson received the Hobart L. and Mary Kay Peer Fiction Prize for hir story “What the Devil Said.”
  • Katherine Kendig received the Josephine M. Bresee Award in Fiction for her story "Three."
  • Paul Beilstein was awarded the Hobart L. and Mary Kay Peer Poetry Prize.
  • Daniel Porder was awarded the Hobart L. and Mary Kay Memorial Award in Poetry.
The judge for fiction was David Jauss; the judge for poetry was Mark Jarman. More information about the graduate awards, including the judges' comments, may be found at

Winners of the Undergraduate Awards are the following:

  • Karolina Zapal received the John L. Rainey Prize, sponsored by Alpha Delta Phi, for her story "Mala Means Little Feminine."
  • Derek Hoot received the  Josephine M. Bresee Memorial Award for his story "The Payer."
  • Preen Dhillon received the Leah Trelease Prize for her story "Mt. Lucifer."
  • Olivia Ingram was awarded the Folger Adam, Jr. Prize for Poetry, sponsored by Alpha Delta Phi.
  • Madeline Nevis was awarded the Charles and Susan Shattuck Prize for Poetry.
  • Ariel Jones was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize.

Honorable mentions were given to Alexis Casati and Daniel Zillmer in fiction, and to Noelle Africh, John Milas, and Jessica Sung in poetry.

The judge for fiction was Ryan Kenealy; the judge for poetry was Ryo Yamaguchi. More information about the undergraduate awards, including judges' comments, may be found at 


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Remembering Greg Rodgers

We are heartbroken to share the news that MFA candidate Greg Rodgers passed away last week on December 17. Greg was completing a novel under the mentorship of LeAnne Howe, and he was only months away from earning his graduate degree in fiction. Greg was beloved by all here in Creative Writing; he was an extraordinary colleague and friend, and will be greatly missed.

You can hear Greg read from his work on our podcast page.
A remembrance of Greg is featured at the Native American House web site.