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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 25, 2011

UI writing alumni McCrae and Corral win prestigious Whiting Awards

Poets Shane McCrae and Eduardo C. Corral, alumni of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, are winners of the 2011 Whiting Writers' Awards, presented in an Oct. 25 ceremony in New York City. This prestigious, $50,000 award recognizes 10 young writers for their extraordinary talent and promise, and is one of the most coveted prizes for up-and-coming writers.

McCrae is now studying for a doctorate in English at the UI. His debut collection of poetry, Mule, was published this year by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. "This work has the rhythms of the ocean," the Whiting selectors said. "We follow him out to sea, and the poems become increasingly poignant the farther out you get. You find yourself washed up on a shoal where the words, like a rock, break your heart."

His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Best American Poetry 2010, the American Poetry Review, Fence, jubilat, Gulf Coast, and other journals.

Corral's poetry manuscript, "Slow Lightning," was chosen as the winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2011 and will be published next year. "These poems are alluring, moving, playful and elegiac," the Whiting judges said. "They have flashes of surrealism and sometimes a lovely in extremis strangeness."

Corral is the recipient of the Olive B. O'Connor Fellowship in Creative Writing at Colgate University, the Discovery/The Nation award and several residencies, including ones at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. His work has been published in anthologies and in journals including the Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry, jubilant, Witness, the New England Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, The Nation, and Quarterly West.

The Whiting Writers' Awards have been given annually since 1985 and past recipients include Tobias Wolff, Jeffrey Eugenides, Mary Karr, and UI alumni Michael Cunningham and Kim Edwards -- all winners before they were acclaimed, bestselling authors.

Other recent UI-connected Whiting Award winners include David Adjmi, Mark Levine, Salvatore Scibona, Charles d'Ambrosio, Yiyun Li, Alexander Chee, Justin Cronin, Michelle Huneven, Kathleen Pierce, ZZ Packer, Lewis Robinson, Denis Johnson, Cate Marvin, and Daniel Alarcón.

The Writers' Workshop and the English department are academic units of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay,