2011 Mentors

Meena Alexander, Mentor in Poetry is an internationally acclaimed poet, scholar and writer. Born in Allahabad, India, and raised in India and Sudan, Alexander lives and works in New York City, where she is Distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College in the MFA program in Creative Writing and at the CUNY Graduate Center in the PhD program in English.  She is the author of numerous collections of poetry, literary memoirs, essays and works of fiction and literary criticism. Among her best known works are the volumes of poetry Illiterate Heart and Raw Silk. In addition she has published two novels, Nampally Road and Manhattan Music. Illiterate Heart won the 2002 PEN Open Book Award.

Jeffery Renard Allen, Mentor in Fiction is the author of two works of fiction, the widely celebrated and influential novel, Rails Under My Back (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000), which won The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for Fiction, and the story collection Holding Pattern (Graywolf Press 2008), which won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and two collections of poetry, Stellar Places (Moyer Bell 2007) and Harbors and Spirits (Moyer Bell 1999). His other awards include a Whiting Writer’s Award, a support grant from Creative Capital, The Chicago Public Library’s Twenty-first Century Award, a Recognition for Pioneering Achievements in Fiction from the African American Literature and Culture Association, the 2003 Charles Angoff award for fiction from The Literary Review, and special citations from the Society for Midlands Authors and the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation.  He has been at fellow at The Dorothy L. and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at The New York Public Library, a John Farrar Fellow in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a Walter E. Dakins Fellow in Fiction at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

Greg Curtis, Mentor in Nonfiction is the author of Disarmed: The Story of the Venus de Milo and The Cave Painters: Probing the Mysteries of the World’s First Artists. He was the editor of Texas Monthly from 1981 until 2000 and during his editorship the magazine won many prizes, including five National Magazine Awards. In 2000, he was selected by the Columbia Journalism Review as one of the ten best magazine editors in the country. He is currently the Humanities Coordinator of the Harry Ransom Center. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Time and Rolling Stone, among other publications. A graduate of Rice University and San Francisco State College, he lives in Austin, Texas.

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