Nina Mae Kellogg Awards Ceremony

The Department of English annually grants awards and scholarships to undergraduate English majors and to graduate English and Writing students who have demonstrated academic excellence. The awards process culminates each spring in the Nina Mae Kellogg Awards Ceremony, where we come together as a department to celebrate our students and to thank our donors and sponsors. The generosity of our donors funds the contest awards and supports our ability to invite internationally prominent authors to speak at the event.

Please join us for the 48th Annual Nina Mae Kellogg Awards Ceremony where our guest author will be 2008 Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Junot Díaz.

When: Monday, April 30, 2012
Time: 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Where: The Smith Student Union Ballroom, SMSU 335
1825 S.W. Broadway, Portland, Oregon
Portland State University campus
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Update: The English department is pleased to announce this year's student writing award winners. Congratulations to our 2012 Kellogg Award Winners!

About the Guest Speaker

Junot Diaz Junot Díaz was born and raised in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. His work has appeared in: The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Time Out, Glimmer Train, Story, African Voices, Best American Fiction '96 (ed. John Edgar Wideman); Best American Fiction '97 (ed. Annie Proulx); Best American Fiction '99 (ed. Amy Tan); Best American Fiction '00 (ed. E.L. Doctorow) and The O.Henry Prize Stories anthology, 2009; Díaz was included in the “20 Writers for the 21st Century” issue of The New Yorker (June '99). He received a Pushcart Prize XXII, for his story “Invierno” which was later also selected for The Pushcart Book of Short Stories, a compilation of the best fiction from the first 25 years of the Pushcart Prize. He is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Díaz's story collection, Drown was published by Riverhead in '96. It is in its 23rd printing and was sold in 15 countries. (The story collection was also published in Spanish in the US, by Vintage Español, under the title Negocios.

His first novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (September 2007, Riverhead won the Pulitzer Prize and remained on the New York Times and independent bookstore bestseller lists for two years in hardback and paperback. It has been sold in 33 languages where it hit bestseller lists around the world. Díaz's next story collection, This Is How You Lose Her will be published by Riverhead in September 2012.

Praise for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao from The New York Times (Michiko Kakutani):
“Junot Díaz's Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a wondrous, not-so-brief first novel that is so original it can only be described as Mario Vargas Llosa meets “Star Trek” meets David Foster Wallace meets Kanye West. It is funny, street-smart and keenly observed, and it unfolds from a comic portrait of a second-generation Dominican geek into a harrowing meditation on public and private history and the burdens of familial history. An extraordinarily vibrant book that's fueled by adrenaline-powered prose, it's confidently steered through several decades of history by a madcap, magpie voice that's equally at home talking about Tolkien and Trujillo, anime movies and ancient Dominican curses, sexual shenanigans at Rutgers University and secret police raids in Santo Domingo. Mr. Díaz, the author of a critically acclaimed collection of short stories published in 1996 (Drown), writes in a sort of streetwise brand of Spanglish that even the most monolingual reader can easily inhale... he conjures with seemingly effortless aplomb the two worlds his characters inhabit... Mr. Díaz writes about the Trujillo era of the Dominican Republic with the same authority he writes about contemporary New Jersey, the slangy, kinetic energy of his prose proving to be a remarkably effective tool for capturing the absurdities of the human condition, be they the true horrors of living in a dictatorship that can erase a person or a family on a whim, or the self-indulgent difficulties of being a college student coping with issues of weight and self-esteem... It is Mr. Díaz's achievement in this galvanic novel that he's fashioned both a big picture window that opens out on the sorrows of Dominican history, and a small, intimate window that reveals one family's life and loves. In doing so, he's written a book that decisively establishes him as one of contemporary fiction's most distinctive and irresistible new voices.”

About the Awards

The Nina Mae Kellogg Awards
The Nina Mae Kellogg Student Awards in English honor the memory of a woman who received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Michigan and who taught English in high schools in Michigan and at Battle Creek College, where she retired as Associate Professor of English. She was married to Carl Dahlstrom, a PSU professor emeritus of English, and the donor of the funds that support the Nina Mae Kellogg awards. He came to Portland State University from the University of Michigan, and often expressed his gratitude for the congenial and supportive climate he found at PSU. He died in 1981. Dahlstrom, devoted to his discipline and concerned for his students, said that through the Kellogg awards hoped to encourage students to continue on in their careers. Through campus visits of distinguished scholars and writers, he hoped to enrich the work of students and faculty. Because Dahlstrom was a self-effacing man, he gave the names of his wife and his mother to the student-aid funds established at PSU.

The Marilyn Folkestad Scholarship
The Marilyn Folkestad Scholarship Award is named for Marilyn Folkestad, a poet and fiction writer and author of the novel Ghost Dancing. The scholarship, given to one female graduate student and one female undergraduate student, both of whom have returned to school to pursue a career in literature and creative writing, is funded through the generosity of the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund, administered by Christopher Folkestad.

The Tom and Phyllis Burnam Awards
Phyllis Burnam, widow of English Department colleague Tom Burnam, left a significant bequest to PSU, which resulted in sizeable gifts to the English Department, funding the Tom and Phyllis Burnam Writing Awards, as well as providing funds for the English Department for its general use. Tom Burnam was recognized nationally for his best-selling book, The Dictionary of Misinformation, much discussed in the press and on network talk shows. At PSU, he and Phyllis are remembered for their intelligence, wit and graciousness. Tom and his good humor often kept the department afloat on perilous administrative seas, and his trenchant and often ironic minutes from department meetings remain a highlight of department lore. Phyllis was often Tom's straight man, and sometimes reversed positions with her husband to his dismay and delight. Their commitment to PSU was truly a team effort.

The John Redman Freshman Writing Award
John Redman was an outstanding student at PSC in the 1960s and earned his MA in English at PSU. He taught at Clackamas Community College, and then as an instructor at PSU in the 1980s and 1990s. He died in the mid-1990s. He exemplified respect for lower-division teaching.

The Frank Andrew Clarke and Helen Clarke Memorial Award
The Frank Andrew Clarke and Helen Clarke Memorial Award honors the parents of PSU faculty member Margaret Clark, who endowed the award in their names. Margaret Clark was an Assistant Dean in the Division of Arts and Letters (before it became the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), and she taught writing for the English Department. She died in 1975.

The Philip Ford Graduate Award
Philip Ford was a longtime English and American literature professor at PSU. He taught courses in American literature, and particularly in realism and naturalism. He was coordinator of the graduate program for many years.

The Tom Doulis Graduate Fiction Writing Awards
Thomas Doulis was born in Western Pennsylvania and grew up in a steel town that is the locale of most of the action in his novel, The Open Hearth: The First Generation, a novel whose narrative spans the years 1914-1937. While serving in the Army, Doulis went to Jump School to become a paratrooper and to write the field manual on Unconventional Warfare for the Special Forces. This experience served as fodder for his first novel, Path for our Valor, (Simon and Schuster, 1963). Before going to Greece on a Fulbright, Doulis wrote The Quarries of Sicily (1969). Doulis was a longtime member of the creative writing faculty at PSU.

The Shelley Reece Award in Poetry
Shelley Reece is a native of Kansas, presently chairs The Friends of William Stafford. Retired from his professorship of English at Portland State, Shelley still teaches occasional courses in contemporary British literature, as well as writing classes. Among Reece's gifts to PSU is his work in launching the University Studies program, now a cornerstone of our curriculum.

The Tom Bates Awards in Nonfiction Writing
Tom Bates was a longtime West Coast magazine and newspaper writer and editor. Before joining The Oregonian in 1994 as a staff writer, Tom had worked as editor of the Los Angeles Times Magazine and as senior editor of California Magazine and New West. For many years before that he had been editor of Oregon Magazine. Tom grew up in Oakridge, Oregon. He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Oregon, where he was a Fulbright Scholar his junior year, studying in Italy. He received his master's and doctorate degree in history from the University of Wisconsin. Tom, who was the author of Rads: The 1970 Bombing of the Army Math Research Center at the University of Wisconsin and Its Aftermath, won numerous local, regional and national newspaper awards for his writing in The Oregonian. He died in 1999.

The Academy of American Poets Award
Presented for the best poem or group of poems submitted by a student. Winning poems may be selected for publication by the Academy.

The Wilma Morrison Award
The Wilma Morrison Award honors the memory of the late Wilma Morrison, a longtime reporter for The Oregonian who founded the journalism department at Portland State College in 1961, and was the adviser to the Vanguard student newspaper. Wilma inspired and instructed hundreds of students, many of whom hold key positions today on major American newspapers. The awards began in 1992 and are endowed by alumni and current friends of the Vanguard.

The Giving Back Fellowship
Awarded to a second-year student in the graduate nonfiction writing program based on a writing sample, general achievement, and need.

Support Future Kellogg Award Winners

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