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Danbury's WCSU Opens Housatonic Book Awards Nominations

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DANBURY, Conn. — The Western Connecticut State University Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing program has opened the second Housatonic Book Awards nomination period in cooperation with the M.F.A. Alumni Writer’s Cooperative.

The awards will honor one recipient in each of four areas: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and writing for middle grades and young adults.

Any author, publisher, editor or literary agent may nominate a title in any of the four genres before the deadline on Monday, June 15. The recipient in each category will receive $1,500, will give a public reading, and will conduct a workshop with WestConn's MFA students.

The mission of the awards is to promote excellent writing, identify authors who serve as professional role models for writing students, and develop the WCSU MFA in Creative and Professional Writing Program scholarship fund.

Ron Samul, president of the AWC, said the awards have a dual function.

“We are happy to be able to bring four excellent writers to Danbury each year via the awards,” he said, “but it is also important that the awards will help to build our new scholarship fund, which will support students in the M.F.A. program financially and help build enrollment in the program.”

Recipients of the awards will appear on the WCSU campus in January and August, during the MFA program’s residency periods, according to MFA Coordinator Brian Clements.

“The awards will continue the M.F.A. program’s tradition of bringing excellent authors to Danbury, as we already have done with the appearances of 2014 winners Gail Martin and Jennifer duBois. These awards are increasing national awareness of the M.F.A. program, the university and the region.”

The 2014 winners were duBois, for her fiction title “Cartwheel;” Martin, for her poetry collection “Begin Empty-Handed;” Mardi Jo Link, for her nonfiction title “Bootstrapper;” and A.B. Westrick for her young-adult title “Brotherhood.” Link and Westrick will conduct readings at the August residency in Danbury.

Recipients of the 2015 awards will be announced in October. Nomination guidelines are available at . For more information, contact Cara Petitti at 203-837-8878 or

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