August 12, 2010

Furey wins Charles Johnson Student Fiction honor

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Rachel Furey, a graduate of the creative writing master of fine arts program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the winner of that University’s annual Charles Johnson Student Fiction Award.

Furey’s winning entry, the short story “Calls That Carry for Miles,” will appear in the 2011 Winter/Spring issue of Crab Orchard Review. Furey also receives a cash award of $1,000, and a signed copy of a Charles Johnson book. At present, Furey is a graduate student at Texas Tech University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses.

“The MFA program at SIUC was a privilege in that it really allowed me to focus on my writing,” Furey said. “The faculty are diverse, enthusiastic, and serious about what they do, which helped to really push me as a writer, as well as allowing me to have fun and experiment with my writing… I think that to grow as a writer, one must also grow as an overall human being, and I feel I was able to accomplish both at SIUC.”

Allison Joseph, director of the SIUC MFA program and editor and poetry editor for the Crab Orchard Review, said Furey was “a great credit to our program.”

Other finalists include:

• James Scoles, “To Cook an Egg Gently,” (SIUC)

• Lauri M. Anderson, “The First Good Thing,” (Texas Tech University)

• Janet Thielke, “Pitch” (University of Southern California, Los Angeles)

Finalists will receive a year’s subscription to the Crab Orchard Review, and their names will appear in the 2011 Winter/Spring issue. Crab Orchard Review is a critically acclaimed, internationally distributed, creative writing journal produced at SIUC.

The award is part of an annual short story writing competition open to current undergraduate and graduate students nationwide. Charles Johnson himself selects the winner, though a panel of published writers and editors conducts the initial screening. Johnson, Crab Orchard Review, the SIUC Department of English and the SIUC College of Liberal Arts sponsor this award.

Johnson, a multi-degree SIUC alumnus, recently retired from the University of Washington in Seattle, where he was the S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Endowed Professor of English. Among his many awards and accolades, Johnson received the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from the Corporate Council for the Arts and the Academy Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a past recipient of the National Book Award, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The American Literature Association inaugurated the Charles Johnson Society in 2003. SIUC presented Johnson with an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters in 1995.

For more information about the SIUC creative writing program and the Department of English, see To find out more about the Crab Orchard Review, and the annual literary contests, visit And to learn more about Charles Johnson, go to