Dr. Eve L. Ewing named 2020 Paul Engle Prize Winner

Photo: Nolis Anderson

Dr. Eve L. Ewing has been named the recipient of the Paul Engle Prize, presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization.

The prize, established in 2011, honors an individual who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts.

Dr. Ewing is the tenth winner of the award. The award will be celebrated during a special online event at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 12, as part of the Iowa City Book Festival. Oct. 12 is “Paul Engle Day” in Iowa. To register for the free event, visit www.crowdcast.io/e/engleprize-ewing.

The prize includes a one-of-a-kind work of art and $15,000. The City of Literature will work with Dr. Ewing to schedule a visit to Iowa City after the pandemic to present the award in person.

Dr. Ewing is a sociologist of education whose research is focused on racism, social inequality, and urban policy, and the impact of these forces on American public schools and the lives of young people. Her writing also addresses these issues. Her book Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism & School Closings on Chicago’s South Side explores the relationship between the closing of public schools and the structural history of race and racism in Chicago’s Bronzeville community. Her poetry collection, 1919, tells the story of a race riot in Chicago in the summer of that year. With Nate Marshall, she co-wrote the play No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, produced by Manual Cinema and commissioned by the Poetry Foundation. She also currently writes the Champions series for Marvel Comics and previously wrote the acclaimed Ironheart series.

Dr. Ewing is an assistant professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. She often uses public platforms to discuss social issues, particularly Twitter, where she is a well-recognized commentator with nearly 200,000 followers and tens of millions of views each month.

Speaking about the award, Dr. Ewing said she was “incredibly moved and honored” to receive the award.

“Against everything about the world that seems to be crumbling around us, I still believe in poetry not only as a means to find strength within ourselves, but as a means to organize, to speak truth to power, and to create the world we believe is possible,” she said. “Thank you so much to the judges and I can’t wait to celebrate with you in Iowa someday.”

The Paul Engle Prize is made possible through the generous support of the City of Coralville, which is home to 11 permanent sculptures with artistic and literary ties to Iowa. The sculptures all have ties to work found in The Iowa Writers’ Library, housed in the Coralville Marriott, which features about 800 books written by former students, graduates and faculty of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

The Engle Prize itself is a one-of-a-kind work of art created by M.C. Ginsberg in Iowa City. The piece is crafted to reflect the work and impact of the recipient, while tying it to the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature.

Paul Engle (October 12, 1908 – March 22, 1991), though best remembered as the long-time director of the Writers’ Workshop and founder of the UI’s International Writing Program, also was a well-regarded poet, playwright, essayist, editor and critic. In addition to recognizing a writer, like Engle, makes an impact on his or her community and the world at large through efforts beyond the page, the award is designed to raise awareness about Engle and his works.

Previous winners of the prize are:

  • James Alan McPherson, was a longtime instructor at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Elbow Room
  • Kwame Dawes, a professor at Nebraska University, editor of the journal Prairie Schooner, and author of the poetry collection, Duppy Conqueror
  • Luis Alberto Urrea, a multi-genre author whose works include the novel Into the Beautiful North, the non-fiction work, The Devil’s Highway, and the poetry collection, The Tijuana Book of the Dead.
  • Sara Paretsky, author of the bestselling V.I. Warshawski mystery series. She also created Sisters in Crime, a group that has evolved into a worldwide organization that supports women crime writers, and is a past president of the Mystery Writers of America.
  • Roxane Gay, a writer, professor, editor and commentator. She is the author of the short story collection Ayiti, the novel An Untamed State, the essay collection Bad Feminist, and the memoir, Hunger.
  • Alexander Chee, a writer, teacher and activist. He is the author of the novels Edinburgh and Queen of the Night, as well as the memoir How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Chee is renowned essayist who writes honestly and fiercely on subjects such as race, gender, and LGBTQ+ issues.
  • Dina Nayeri, a novelist, essayist and activist who has written extensively about the life and challenges of refugees. She has published two novels, A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, and Refuge. Her latest book, The Ungrateful Refugee, was released in 2019.
  • Toi Derricotte a poet and memoirist who is a professor emerita of writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Her most recent book is i: new and Selected Poems. She is the co-founder of Cave Canem.
  • Cornelius Eady the author of eight books of poetry. In 2001, Brutal Imaginationwas a finalist for the National Book Award. He is the co-founder of Cave Canem.
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.