OXFORD, Mississippi – Professors and professors emeritus at the University of Mississippi will be honored for their literary and community work when they receive the Mississippi Arts Commission’s 35th Annual Governor’s Arts Award next month.
The committee will award the 2023 Award for Outstanding Literature and Poetry to Ann Fisher Worth, former UM English Professor, and the Outstanding Literature Award to Ralph Eubanks, Visiting Professor of English and Resident Writer at the Southern Cultural Studies Center. and the Cultural Ambassador Award.
Governor Tate Reeves’ office will present the awards in a ceremony at two Mississippi museums in Jackson on February 2.
According to Ellie Banks, communications director for the Mississippi State Arts Commission, the seven 2023 award winners are selected for both their mastery in their field and the impact their art has had on the community. .
“This award recognizes individuals and organizations who have made notable contributions or achieved artistic excellence in the state of Mississippi,” said Banks. “Anne Fisher-Worth and Ralph Eubanks have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields and MAC is delighted to honor them this year.”
An Ole Miss alumnus who grew up in Mount Olive, Eubanks has covered extensively life and racism in the Deep South, especially the Mississippi, throughout his career. His work has been critically acclaimed in national publications.
He served as Director of Publications at the Library of Congress from 1995 to 2013. Eubanks’ career is interspersed with his radio publications in Washington, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Chicago, his Tribune, WIRED, and the National.
He has also published four books, including his latest, A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape (Timber Press), published last year. John Simon Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, Carl and Lilly of Harvard University He was a Fellow of the Pforzheimer Foundation, New He was a Fellow of the American Foundation.
“My hope is that today someone who grew up in my hometown of Mount Olive will be inspired to see someone who grew up there recognized in this way.” said Eubanks.
“The young man doesn’t necessarily have to be inspired to become a writer. Still, being from a small town in the heart of Piney Woods, Mississippi, can be an inspiration to achieve what you want in life.” I hope that person realizes that they can be a source of inspiration.
Fisher Worth, who retired this year after 50 years of education, is publishing his seventh book of poetry, Paradise is Jagged. Throughout his career, Fisherworth has been recognized for his achievements and awards, has been a senior scholar and educator in Switzerland and Sweden, and has lectured throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Scotland, and Taiwan.
She was named the university’s Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2014, and Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year and College of Liberal Arts Teacher of the Year in 2006. She is a Senior Fellow and Board Member of the Black Earth Institute, and a longtime member and former President of the Association for Literary and Environmental Studies.
She has edited and co-edited numerous journals and publications and has helped raise generations of poets and scholars. , has championed social and environmental justice for decades.
But Fisher-Wirth said her most important work was creating and teaching the university’s environmental studies minor.
“It is the only program at the university that combines the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. I have to.”
Fisher-Wirth said she was grateful to her university for allowing her to pursue her interests, and said Ole Miss allowed her to redefine herself.
“I believe in the power of education,” she said. “I believe in the power of literature. I believe these things can take you beyond the limits of your own experience.
That’s how college affected me. They told me about my passion, bridging creative writing and environmental research. That’s why I stayed here for 10 years after retirement. ”
Rebecca Lauck Cleary of the Southern Cultural Studies Center also contributed to this report.