Accolade: Nafissa Thompson-Spires, MA’05, PhD’09, one of 10 Whiting Award winnersby Jim Patterson May. 23, 2019, 9:10 AM
Nafissa Thompson-Spires, MA’05, PhD’09, was announced as one of 10 Whiting Award winners March 20 at a ceremony at the New York Historical Society. Thompson-Spires’ short story collection Heads of the Colored People (2018, Atria/37 INK) has been honored with a PEN Open Book Award, longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award and Aspen Words Literary Prize, nominated for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The Whiting Awards, established by the Whiting Foundation in 1985, remain one of the most esteemed and largest monetary gifts ($50,000) to emerging writers, and are based on the criteria of early career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come. Rick Hilles, associate professor of English, is a previous winner in poetry.