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K-State Today

July 16, 2012

All the 'write' words: English faculty members earn honors for new books

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Two faculty members from Kansas State University's department of English are award winners for their recent books.

Katherine Karlin, assistant professor of English, has won the 2011 Balcones Fiction Prize from Austin Community College Creative Writing for her book "Send Me Work," which is also a 2012 Kansas Notable Book. Published by TriQuarterly, "Send Me Work" is a collection of fictional stories about working American women.

Lisa Tatonetti, associate professor of English, received a silver medal in the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the anthologies category for the book "Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature." Published by the University of Arizona Press, Tatonetti is co-editor of the collection and co-author of the book's introduction. According to Tatonetti, the term Two-Spirit was coined in 1990 at the annual international gathering of American Indian and First Nations Gays and Lesbians to describe people of native cultures who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender/transsexual or queer.

Unlike a lot stories centered on women where main characters face romantic problems, the biggest challenges Karlin's characters in "Send Me Work" encounter are in the work force. Stories range from a struggling young woman in post-Katrina New Orleans who learns to weld; an orchestra oboist who listens to the confessions of her beloved teacher; and an idealistic aerobics instructor who leaves her home to pick coffee in revolution-era Nicaragua.

"Katy Karlin's work has received numerous accolades, but winning the Balcones Fiction Prize establishes her as a key voice in contemporary fiction," said Karin Westman, head of the university's department of English. "By receiving this year's award, 'Send Me Work' reminds us about the longevity, energy and lyricism of the short story form."

Tatonetti's book "Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature" is a collection of writing from several generations of Two-Spirit people. The first of its kind in more than 20 years, the book reflects the complexity of identities within native gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and Two-Spirit communities.

"Winning a silver IPPY medal for 'Sovereign Erotics' brings national recognition to Lisa Tatonetti's ground-breaking research in Native American studies," Westman said. "It also raises awareness about independent publishers and their key role in humanities scholarship."

Both books are currently available at bookstores and online retailers.