Poetic essayist wins her second Towson University Prize for Literature

Baltimore resident’s essay collection honored for literary, aesthetic excellence

TOWSON, Md. (April 8, 2009)—Lia Purpura, of Baltimore, is the winner of the 2009 Towson University Prize for Literature. She received the $1,000 prize for her collection of essays, On Looking, published in 2006 by Sarabande Books. Her first collection of poems, The Brighter the Veil, won the 1998 Towson University Prize for Literature.

Purpura earned a B.A. in English from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a teaching/writing fellow in poetry. She currently serves as writer-in-residence at Loyola College in Maryland.

Her poems and essays have appeared in many magazines, including Agni Review, Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, Field, Southern Review and Ploughshares.

Purpura has received numerous awards, including a 2006 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Prose. Her collection of essays, Increase, won the Associated Writing Programs Award in Creative Nonfiction in 1999 and her collection of poems, Stone Sky Lifting, won the Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in 2000. King Baby, Purpura’s third collection of poems, was released in 2008 and won the Beatrice Hawley Award.

Established in 1979 with a grant from Alice and Franklin Cooley, the Towson University Prize for Literature is awarded annually for a single book or book-length manuscript of fiction, poetry, drama or imaginative nonfiction by a Maryland writer. The prize is granted on the basis of literary and aesthetic excellence as determined by a panel of distinguished judges appointed by the university.






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