McNeese State University alumnus Michael Shewmaker has received a 2013 Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry from Stanford University. Shewmaker is a 2010 graduate of McNeese's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program and a doctoral candidate at Texas Tech University.
2013 Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson - who is also a McNeese MFA alumnus - was a recipient of this prestigious fellowship. The celebrated writer and environmentalist Stegner founded the Stanford Creative Writing Program and Writing Fellowships in 1946.
The Stanford writing program offers 10 two-year creative writing fellowships each year, five in fiction and five in poetry. This year over 1,700 writers applied for these fellowships.
"The fellowship means a lot - particularly the time to write and revise, revise and write, toward completing my first manuscript of poems while studying at Stanford University," said Shewmaker.
After the fellowship, he hopes to find a publisher for his completed manuscript and to finish up his doctorate at the same time. "More than anything, though, my goal will be to continue to write the best poems that I can-the poems that only I can write."
As for his time spent at McNeese, Shewmaker said "it was special."
"For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people who cared as much about writing as I did. The writers in the MFA program were talented artists and-as if that wasn't enough-extraordinary human beings. Many of my closest friends I met while studying in the creative writing program at McNeese," he stated.
"Being in such an environment helped me to grow as an artist and as a person. I'm especially grateful to all of the McNeese faculty in the creative writing department while I was there - Amy Fleury, Morri Creech, Neil Connelly, Keagan LeJeune and Jacob Blevins," added Shewmaker.