Penn State Harrisburg

Humanities faculty win writing awards

Jen Hirt

Jen Hirt

Dr. Eric Bliman

Dr. Eric Bliman

Penn State Harrisburg School of Humanities faculty members Eric Bliman and Jen Hirt have won national awards for their short publications.

Bliman, instructor in English composition, received one of two 2012 National Chapbook Fellowships from the Poetry Society of America, which will publish his chapbook, Travel and Leisure, in spring of 2013. Bliman, of Middletown, will read from his entry at the society’s headquarters in New York, also in the spring.  

Chapbooks are short books – generally between 20-35 pages – grouped loosely around a topic or theme.  Selected for the national honor by renowned poet and literary critic Vijay Seshadri, Bliman’s chapbook explores travel, home life, work, and the absence of work – unemployment or relaxing.

Bliman’s poems and book reviews have appeared in journals including The Times Literary Supplement, Subtropics, and The Southern Review; and received awards including the University Research Council Fellowship from the University of Cincinnati and the Intro Journals Award for poetry from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

Hirt, assistant professor of creative writing, won the 2012 Gabehart Prize for Nonfiction from the Kentucky Women Writers Conference for her essay, “Glow in the Dark.” Hirt, of Harrisburg, read her winning entry, about a night she spent with bat researchers in rural Kentucky, at the conference, held September 21-22 at the University of Kentucky. The longest-running women’s conference in the nation, the Kentucky Women Writers Conference has hosted writers such as Maya Angelou (Angelou spoke at the Forum in Harrisburg on Oct. 2 at a sold-out event sponsored by Penn State Harrisburg), Gloria Steinem, and Alice Walker. The essay will also appear in print and online in the fall/winter 2012 issue of the Boston magazine Redivider.

Hirt’s essays have won a Pushcart Prize and grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Ohioana Library, and have been shortlisted for Best American Essays. Her memoir, Under Glass: The Girl with a Thousand Christmas Trees, won the 2011 Drake University Emerging Writer Prize.