Rollins to receive Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award

Alison Rollins

Alison C. Rollins (MS '17) has been selected to receive a 2018 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award, which is given annually to six women writers who demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers. Celebrating its 24th year, the Rona Jaffe Awards have helped many women build successful writing careers by offering encouragement and financial support at a critical time. The Awards are $30,000 each and will be presented to the six recipients on September 13 in New York City.

Rollins is completing her first collection of poems, Library of Small Catastrophes, to be published by Copper Canyon Press in 2019. She is a librarian for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her work both supports and informs her poetry. She says, "In my book, I utilize the concept of the library archive to offer a lyric history of the ways in which human beings struggle to process loss.” Her nominator writes, “Alison’s poems are rich and textured, displaying her full depth of knowledge and heart, with carefully assembled facts and anecdotes, roving masterfully across topics and catalogues, with poems in cheeky dialogue with poets and philosophers and the Dewey decimal system, her scope sweeping across American history, family tragedy, all while making poignant examinations of womanhood, and tackling issues like slavery, Blackness, and racism in America." Rollins is also working on a second collection, which explores Afro-futurism together with current philosophical examinations of time. She received her bachelor's degree from Howard University and her MS/LIS degree from the University of Illinois. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, and The Offing, among others. She is a recipient of a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg fellowship and has been awarded support from the Cave Canem Foundation, Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. She will use her Writer's Award to focus more on her writing and travel to Mexico, Argentina, and Russia for further research on these projects. She lives in Chicago.

The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Awards program was established in 1995 by celebrated novelist Rona Jaffe (1931-2005). It is the only national literary awards program of its kind dedicated to supporting women writers exclusively. Since the program began, the Foundation has awarded more than $2.5 million to emergent women writers.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

iSchool alumni selected for PLA Leadership Academy

Midori Clark (MS '17), director of community relations, development & strategic initiatives for the Pueblo (CO) City-County Library District; Amita Lonial (MS '09), assistant director of the Tacoma (WA) Public Library; and Nataliya Papushina (MS '15), branch supervisor for the Indian Trails Public Library District in Wheeling (IL) are among the twenty-eight public librarians selected to participate in the Spring 2019 PLA Leadership Academy, which will be held March 25-29 in Chicago.

Elsessers invest $1 million in the School of Information Sciences

A $1-million dollar gift from Lionelle (BA, LAS '66; MS, LIS '67) and James (BS, Business '66; MS, Business '67) Elsesser will both expand the iSchool's academic programs and support the recruitment of promising students. The gift will be invested in the School's new programs, and that investment will generate $50,000 annually for the Katharine L. Sharp Scholarships, which will be available to students in all iSchool programs.

James and Lionelle Elsesser

Project on international students and libraries leads to graduate research award

iSchool master's students Laura Rocco and Elise Feltman are the recipients of the first Robert Howerton Graduate Student Research Award from the University Library. The award financially supports students who hold a pre-professional graduate assistantship position at the library and who are engaged in research regarding reference and technical services with plans to publish their work.

Laura Rocco and Elise Feltman

McKay inspired by School’s sense of community

As a new master's student in library and information science, funds were tight, and Curt McKay (MS '88) hoped for an assistantship to ease his financial burden. Leigh Estabrook, dean of the School, noticed that McKay had been a teacher and offered him an assistantship in the learning resources lab. "At Illinois, not only did I start learning a new career, but I got carried away by this wonderful atmosphere," McKay recalled. Instead of completing his degree in one year as he had planned, he decided to extend it to two years, then in April of his first year, a job opened up in the School, and McKay was encouraged to apply.

Curt McKay

Oates receives digital preservation award

Anna Oates (MS '18) won the National Records of Scotland Award for the Most Outstanding Student Work in Digital Preservation for her master's thesis work on the PDF/A standard. She received the award on November 29 at a ceremony at the Amsterdam Museum, as part of an international conference hosted by the Dutch Digital Heritage Network and the Amsterdam Museum on World Digital Preservation Day. According to the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), who sponsored the awards, this year marked the greatest number of nominations the organization has received to date, and those selected as finalists faced tough competition from entries across the world.

Anna Oates