September 14, 2006
Award-winning writers join SIUC's English faculty
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Two nationally recognized writers are now part of the English department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Pinckney A. Benedict, full professor of fiction writing, is the author of two novels, "Dogs of God" and "Wild Bleeding Heart," as well as three collections of short stories. He is the winner of many awards, including the Pushcart Prize, the O. Henry Award, the John Steinbeck Award, a James Michener Fellowship and the prestigious Nelson Algren Award from the Chicago Tribune.
Benedict comes to SIUC from Hollins University in Virginia, where he taught creative writing since 1998. He holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton University (1986) and a master's of fine arts from the University of Iowa (1988).
Jacinda Townsend comes to SIUC from Missouri State University, where she held the position of lecturer in creative writing since 2004. She has published several short stories in collections and magazines, and is completing a novel, "The Spirit Husband."
Townsend was the 2003–2004 Carol Houck Smith fiction fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing and a 2002 Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award finalist. Her work has been anthologized in "O. Henry Festival Stories" and "Telling Stories: Fiction by Kentucky Feminists." Townsend is a former Fulbright fellow and holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard University (1992), a law degree from Duke University (1995) and a master's of fine arts from University of Iowa (2001).
"I am thrilled to have Pinckney and Jacinda in our department," said Michael L. Humphries, chair of the English department. "They are outstanding fiction writers and teachers, and they will compliment our department and the College of Liberal Arts very well,"
Allison E. Joseph, head of SIUC's master's program in creative writing, described the new hires as "dynamic, vital writers who are going to add a lot to the program here," she said.
Recruiting and retaining high-quality faculty are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.