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Joanna Pearson receives 2014 TU Prize for Literature

Joanna PearsonJoanna Pearson has been named the winner of the 2014 Towson University Prize for Literature for her book of poetry, Oldest Mortal Myth (Story Line Press, 2012).

Pearson grew up in North Carolina and holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University College Dublin, and The Johns Hopkins University, where she earned an MFA in poetry and a medical degree. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2010, Gulf Coast, The New Criterion, River Styx, Subtropics and elsewhere. Her novel for young adults, The Rites and Wrongs of Janice Wills, was published in 2011.

In a previously published interview, Pearson described Oldest Mortal Myth as being about “carnival freaks and Greek mythology and ghosts and religious doubt and kidnappers and gunshot testicles and visual disorders and metamorphoses and the human body.”

In 2012 the poet Marilyn Nelson chose Oldest Mortal Myth for the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, presented by West Chester University of Pennsylvania in honor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet.

Established in 1979 with a grant from Alice and Franklin Cooley, the Towson University Prize for Literature is awarded annually for a single book or book-length manuscript of fiction, poetry, drama or imaginative nonfiction by a Maryland writer. The prize is granted on the basis of literary and aesthetic excellence as determined by a panel of distinguished judges appointed by the university.