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News : Education May 17, 2017 - 7:48:41 PM

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

By Western Connecticut State University

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DANBURY, CT - The Western Connecticut State University Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing program has opened nominations for the fourth Housatonic Book Awards in cooperation with the M.F.A. Alumni Writers’ Cooperative (AWC).

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 by the deadline on Friday, June 16. The recipient in each category will receive $1,500, give a public reading, and conduct a workshop with M.F.A. 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 residency in Danbury.

The awards were first conceived when the M.F.A. alumni group was formed in January 2014. The AWC and the M.F.A. program manage the award program following the Ethical Guidelines of the Council of Literary Magazines and Publishers. Following the close of nominations, the AWC will select finalists. Recipients of the awards will be announced in October.

Nomination guidelines are available at For more information, contact Brian Clements at (203) 837-8876 or

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