Two Writers on Pacific's MFA Faculty Awarded Guggenheim Fellowships

Nonfiction writer Kao Kalia Yang and poet Shara McCallum, both of whom teach in Pacific University’s low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program, each have been awarded 2023 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowships.

Pacific MFA director Scott Korb said both writers have taught in the program for years and have been instrumental in its diversity efforts, leading sessions of the Strata Masterclass for Writers of Color.

They were among 171 writers, artists and scientists identified this month by trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, who waded through more than 2,500 applicants for the awards.

Shara McCallumPoet Shara McCallum, right, an English professor at Penn State University, has written six books. Her most recent, No Ruined Stone, was winner of the 2022 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry and named a finalist for the 2022 UNT Rilke Prize. She was born to a Jamaican father and Venezuelan mother, and teaches poetry workshops where she says, “I discourage consensus,” instead cultivating multiple responses, even when contradictory.

Kao Kalia YangHmong-American writer Kao Kalia Yang, left, who is writer in residence at the University of Minnesota, has written memoirs including The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, as well as such children’s books as A Map Into the World and The Most Beautiful Thing. Her work been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the PEN USA literary awards, the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize, the Heartland Bookseller’s Award, and the Minnesota Book Awards.

Pacific’s low-residency MFA in Writing program features celebrated writers like McCallum and Yang, who guide students through an exploration of craft and conversation, celebrating writing as an art that has the potential to make a difference in the world. The program features two annual residencies, which also can be taken as conferences for non-degree-seeking writers. The next residency is in Forest Grove in June.


Friday, April 14, 2023