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Category: awards

It’s an honor to be…

… and that’s not sarcasm. It really is an honor just to be nominated.

In all the flurry of my travels this month, I neglected to blog about being named a finalist for the Michael Knost Wings Award. Locus has a write-up about the shortlist, which is the second part of this I didn’t expect.

The Knost Award focuses on up-and-coming new writers and writers who’ve been around a while but aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. I presume I’m in the latter category in their estimation, since 20 years is a long time to be up-and-coming. As they say, it takes 20 years to become an overnight sensation.

The full announcement is here, and the winner will be announced at Imaginarium this July. I’ll be present at the convention with the usual suspects in tow, and whether they call my name or it goes to one of the eminently deserving candidates on the list with me, it’s a huge honor just to be considered. One never really knows what impact you’ve had on the profession or the genre or the industry, beyond the occasional thank-you note from a student or another author you’ve mentored. That isn’t why we do it, of course, nor do we do it for awards (and certainly not for fame and fortune, cue laugh track). But it’s immensely gratifying to see that others perceive value in your work.

So thank you very much to the nominating committee and to Mr. Knost himself, and I’ll see you all in Louisville in July!

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And the winner is…


I’m pleased (almost) beyond words to announce I have been honored with the Mimi Zanger Award for fiction writing. This is an award granted by the English Department at Southern Illinois University, where I have begun my coursework for an MFA in creative writing (in case you’ve missed all the other references to my MFA here and on my Patreon …. somehow).

The story I submitted for the contest’s consideration was written in workshop last semester. My first inclination was to share it, of course. However, it is currently under submission to a literary magazine, and thus it would be inappropriate to publish. I sincerely hope I will be able to share it with you soon.

Near as I can tell, the award is named after the wife of Dr. Jules Zanger, a professor at SIUE before it even became the university we know it today. Dr. Zanger grew up in Brooklyn and fought in World War II, as did many of his generation. After the war, he earned his degrees and met Mary Proctor – known as Mimi – while finishing his PhD at Washington University in St. Louis. Like many academics, the Zangers bounced around from Ohio to Chicago and so on before moving to Alton, Ill. and settling at SIUE. Dr. Zanger taught at SIUE for 35 years, retiring as professor emeritus after receiving Fulbright grants to study in Brazil, France and Czechoslovakia.

Mimi died in 1991. Dr. Zanger continued with his research and extensive travels, eventually remarrying and relocating to Frankfurt, Germany, where he died in 2014. His obituary states that he was “a great lover of good books, good food, good wine, good music, and good conversation. He loved fine restaurants, but was also a skilled home chef, preparing many memorable meals for friends and family. He loved and frequently attended the opera, never understanding why everyone didn’t.”

When Dr. Zanger died, his survivors indicated that memorials should be made to the Mimi Zanger Award endowment, so that it could continue to support students like me who seek to explore the joys of the written word. It sounds like the Zangers would have been terrific people to know.

As I write this, I am playing Don Giovanni, in honor of the opera lovers, and hope that I can be worthy of their legacy. I am humbled and grateful for the honor and support of my mentors in the writing program, and look forward to all I have to learn from them.

Crossposted from
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