VCU Professor, Alumni Receive NEA Literature Fellowships

A professor and two alumni from the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University have received National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowships worth $25,000 a piece.

Kathleen Graber, assistant professor of English at VCU, and Anna Journey and Allison Titus, who each graduated with an M.F.A. degree from VCU, were among the 42 poets awarded the prestigious fellowship. The NEA received more than 1,000 applications.

“This recognizes Kathleen Graber’s many marvelous achievements and to have her award come in the same year as fellowships for our alumni Anna Journey and Allison Titus is truly amazing,” said Terry Oggel, Ph.D., chairman of the Department of English. “It proves how extraordinary our nationally-ranked M.F.A. program in Creative Writing is. We are very proud.”

Graber was named a National Book Award finalist in 2010 for her most recent book, “The Eternal City.” Her debut collection, “Correspondence,” was published in 2006. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the New Yorker, the American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, the Georgia Review, the Kenyan Review and AGNI.

Journey’s first book of poetry, “If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting,” was published in 2009 and was selected by Thomas Lux for the National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared in Blackbird, the American Poetry Review, FIELD, Gulf Coast and the Kenyon Review, among other publications. Journey, who received an undergraduate degree at VCU, received her M.F.A. from the university in 2007.

Titus published her first book of poems, which was titled “Sum of Every Lost Ship,” in 2009. A chapbook, “Instructions from the Narwhal,” won the 2006 Bateau Press BOOM Chapbook Prize. Her poems have been published in Blackbird, absent magazine, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly and Octopus Magazine, among other publications. Titus received her M.F.A. with a concentration in fiction from VCU in 2003 and an M.F.A in poetry from Vermont College.

The NEA Literature Fellowships program provides $25,000 grants in prose and poetry to published creative writers, enabling the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement. Fellowship awards alternate annually between prose and poetry.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see