English Professor Receives Prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship

Oliver de la Paz, associate professor of English. Photo by Austin Bosworth

Oliver de la Paz was one of 35 recipients selected from over 1,600 eligible applicants

Oliver de la Paz, associate professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross, has received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in the amount of $25,000. De la Paz  was selected from a pool of 1,601 eligible applicants.

This year's poetry fellowships enable the 35 recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement. Fellows are selected through a highly competitive, anonymous process and are judged on the basis of artistic excellence of the work sample they provided.

"This is the biggest award I've received for being a writer, and even though it's nice to be acknowledged, I understand that there's still a lot of important work to do and people to reach with my writing and in the larger community," de la Paz told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette in a recent interview.

Oliver de la Paz is the author of five collections of poetry: "Names Above Houses," "Furious Lullaby," "Requiem for the Orchard," "Post Subject: A Fable" and "The Boy in the Labyrinth," which was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry. He also co-edited "A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry." A founding member, Oliver serves as the co-chair of the Kundiman advisory board. He has received grants from the NEA, NYFA, the Artist's Trust and the Massachusetts Cultural Council and has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes. His work has been published in journals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Southern Review and Poetry Northwest.

"The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these 35 talented poets through Creative Writing Fellowships," said Amy Stolls, director of literary arts at the Arts Endowment. "These fellowships often provide writers with crucial support and encouragement, and in return, our nation is enriched by their artistic contributions in the years to come."

Since 1967, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded more than 3,600 Creative Writing Fellowships totaling over $56 million. Many American recipients of the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award and Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction were recipients of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships early in their careers.

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