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Oregon Book Awards

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Kim Stafford: Literary Legacy Award

Kim Stafford, director of Lewis & Clark’s Northwest Writing Institute, recently received the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award, one of two special awards that Portland-based Literary Arts bestows annually in recognition of significant contributions that have enriched Oregon’s literary community.

Stafford, an associate professor in the graduate school, began his teaching career at Lewis & Clark in 1979. While he valued the field of literature, he felt passionate about creating a space to grow a community of writers. In 1986, he and others founded the Northwest Writing Institute, which has offered a wide variety of writing programs for people from all walks of life.

In addition, Stafford cofounded the Oregon Folk Arts program and the Fishtrap Writers’ Gathering in Wallowa County. He has participated in artists-in-the-schools programs around the state, served as a member of the Oregon Governor’s Task Force on Arts and Culture, received a Governor’s Arts Award, and worked as a consultant to the Oregon Arts Commission. Stafford has received two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and one of his dozen published works, Having Everything Right, won a Western States Book Award in 1986.

“I’m deeply honored that Literary Arts selected me for an award named for Holbrook, one of Oregon’s most respected writers,” Stafford said. “But this award really belongs to the thousands of students I’ve been fortunate enough to work with over the years, to the faculty I’ve worked with, and to the phenomenon that is the Northwest Writing Institute. I’m just the guy lucky enough to walk up and receive the award for us all.”

Paul Merchant: Poetry Award Finalist

Paul Merchant, an adjunct faculty member in the English department and a special collections associate in Watzek Library, was one of four finalists for the Oregon Book Award in poetry.

His poetry collection, Some Business of Affinity, consists of translations, reworkings, interpretations, and responses covering a wide range of languages, histories, and cultures. Merchant believes “it’s necessary to look beyond national borders at a time of hostility between nations and ideologies.”

A native of Wales, Merchant saw his first poetry in print in 1957. He has been a member of the Lewis & Clark community since 1998. Some Business of Affinity, his fourth poetry collection, marks his first nomination for the Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry, an honor bestowed on full-time Oregon resident poets.

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