Teachers and librarians are the vanguard of literary culture. Each day they welcome new members to the community of readers, curate resources that reveal the histories of our cities and families, foster discussions about important literary works, and encourage the development of new voices in American literature.
We recognize a number of such professionals each year, by providing scholarships to support their attendance at our annual Seminar. We hope that participation in our literary community in Key West will inspire fresh engagement with literature in schools and libraries around the country.
We are honored to announce the recipients of this year’s Teacher & Librarian Scholarships, twelve remarkable individuals who serve readers at public and private schools, major academic institutions, and small community libraries, in places including Lubbock, Texas; suburban Chicago; Washington D.C.; Las Vegas, Nevada; Brooklyn, New York; and South Florida.
Each honoree will receive a full waiver of the Seminar registration fee and support for lodging expenses, and will join us in the audience this January for the 34th annual Seminar, “Shorts: Stories, Essays, & Other Briefs,” featuring Hilton Als, Ann Beattie, Junot Díaz, Thomas McGuane, Claudia Rankine, Karen Russell, Joy Williams, and more.
Scholarships to teachers and librarians are made possible in large part by generous support from Judy Blume’s Kids Fund.
Please take a moment to learn about our winners below:
2015-16 Teacher & Librarian Scholarships
Innocent Awasom has been a teacher and librarian for the past nineteen years and is currently a Science Reference Librarian at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. He is liaison to the College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources (CASNR) and the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry; and the International Center for Arid and semi-Arid land Studies (ICASALS). He is passionate about providing access to, and ethical use of information resources to his students, faculty, staff, and community members. His writings and research dwells on narrative inquiry with a library and information science slant.
Lauren Christos is a Reference and Research Librarian at Florida International University at the Biscayne Bay Campus. Her passions are serving as an intellectual freedom advocate and journeying to Burning Man.
Ian Doreian is an English teacher in Boston, Massachusetts, grounded in tenth-grade literature with the amazing students at John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. Partnering with 826 Boston, his students write, edit, and publish an annual story collection centered on themes as varied as the food our families eat, to the paradox of memories so troubling they must be simultaneously remembered and forgotten. Coaching soccer, photographing concerts, and interviewing members of the Wu-Tang Clan takes up much of his free time.
Meghan Dunn lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she teaches English and serves as chairperson of the English department at the Brooklyn Latin School. She holds a master’s degree in Creative Writing from Emerson College and a bachelor’s in English from Boston College. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Ploughshares, Narrative, Poetry Northwest, Inch, and Post Road, among other publications.
Keisha M. Hester
Keisha M. Hester is a librarian at the Calumet City Public Library in suburban Chicago, Illinois. She loves to connect teens and adults with their next favorite read, and is currently working on her first novel.
Kelly Elaine Navies
Kelly Elaine Navies is a librarian, oral historian, writer, and the mother of an eleven-year-old girl. Currently, she works for the Washington, D.C., Public Library system in the Special Collections Department of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, which consists of Washingtoniana and the Black Studies Center. She received her undergraduate degree in African American Studies with an emphasis in Humanities from the University of California at Berkeley, and her master’s in Library and Information Science from Catholic University with a focus on Cultural Heritage Information. Her writing can be found in Poetry for the People: A Revolutionary Blueprint and Bum Rush The Page: A Def Poetry Jam.
Michael Nelson has been a public librarian for a little over a decade, and recently joined the staff of the Key West Public Library. He has master’s degrees in library science and creative writing, both from the University of South Florida.
Joey Rubin is a high school English teacher in Las Vegas, Nevada, where, as a member of the Teach for America 2014 Corps, he seeks to understand and mitigate the realities of educational inequity that his students face. He is also a graduate of the master’s program in creative writing at the University of Wyoming, and a cultural journalist whose work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Nerve.com, and other national publications.
Seamus Scanlon is a Carnegie Corporation/New York Times award-winning librarian at City College’s Center for Worker Education. The Center was founded by the unions in the 1980s so their members could access higher education via classes offered in the evenings and the weekends. Scanlon is also a playwright (The McGowan Trilogy, Dancing at Lunacy) and fiction writer (As Close As You’ll Ever Be). The Spanish translation of this collection is forthcoming from Artepoetica Press.
Originally from Key West, Danielle Sellers teaches literature and creative writing at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas. She holds master’s degrees from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Mississippi. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Subtropics, the Cimarron Review, Smartish Pace, and elsewhere. Her first poetry collection, Bone Key Elegies, was published by Main Street Rag in 2009.
Dr. Yasmine Shamma is currently Assistant Professor of English at the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University. Her research focuses on the relationship of twentieth-century poetry’s forms to local, pastoral and built environments. She is currently working on a Digital Humanities project which aims to illuminate this relationship for the reading public. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature from Georgetown University, and a doctorate in Philosophy from Oxford University.
Robert Wilder has been teaching at Santa Fe Preparatory School for twenty years. He is the inaugural winner of the Innovations in Reading Prize presented by the National Book Foundation.