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English Professor Nominated for National Book Award
(Released: 10/12/01)

By Allison Thompson, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- English Professor Marilyn Nelson has been nominated for the National Book Award for her latest book, Carver: A Life in Poems. The nomination is in the young people's literature category.

The book tells in verse the story of African-American botanist and inventor George Washington Carver.

"I was very pleased to be nominated," says Nelson, who categorizes the National Book Award as one of the more notable book awards.

The nomination is one of several honors Nelson has received this year. Carver: A Life in Poems was awarded a 2001 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature. The book won in the fiction and poetry category.

"I really believe in this book, particularly because it's very much fueled by the spirit of George Washington Carver," Nelson says. "We need to pay more attention to him."

Nelson received a Guggenheim Fellowship this year and was recently named Connecticut's Poet Laureate by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

The author of six books of poetry, two children's collections and several chapbooks, Nelson has often been recognized for her work. She has received two Pushcart Prizes, two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and two individual artist grants from the Connecticut Commission for the Arts and the 1990 Connecticut Arts Awards. Her book The Homeplace was a finalist for the 1991 National Book Award and won the 1992 Annisfield-Wolf Award. Another book, The Fields of Praise, was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Award, the PEN Winship Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize, and won the 1998 Poets' Prize.

Nelson has taught at the University of Connecticut since 1978.

The National Book Awards will be given out during a ceremony in Manhattan on Nov. 14. Winners receive $10,000, and runners-up receive $1,000.

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