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Penn College Professor Awarded 2004 NEA Literature Fellowship

Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty member Charles F. Kemnitz has been awarded a 2004 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship (Prose) for a submission from his proposed book describing the impact of uranium prospecting and mining in the Four Corners Area of the Southwest and his childhood experiences with Native Americans.

Kemnitz, an associate professor of English and technical communication in the School of Integrated Studies at Penn College, received the honor one of 42 fellowships in fiction and creative nonfiction awarded nationwide for his entry of a chapter from his book-in-progress, “Seep With Yellow Frogs.”

Kemnitz is one of six authors of creative-nonfiction works who were expected to receive NEA fellowships for 2004. The honor comes with a $20,000 award from the NEA to facilitate completion of a writing project.

Kemnitz’s book examines uranium exploration and mining in the Four Corners Area in the late 1950s and early 1960s and its impact on the ecology and economy of the region as well as the health of Native American mine workers. Kemnitz’s father owned an oil and mineral prospecting company, and the family lived near the Southern Mountain Ute and Navajo reservations until Kemnitz was 12.

The chapter Kemnitz submitted to the NEA, “The Fifth Daughter,” focuses on the story of Doltsoi Nilchi, a Ute woman dying from leukemia. It will become the final chapter in “Seep With Yellow Frogs.” The account is based on Kemnitz’s personal contacts and research, as well as published testimony from hearings related to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

The NEA received a record 1,422 applications for the 2004 Creative Writing Fellowships, from which the 42 fellowships in fiction and creative nonfiction were awarded. The agency awards Literature Fellowships in Creative Writing to writers of fiction, creative nonfiction and prose translations every two years.

The awards are open to U.S. citizens with a proven record of publication within a particular genre. Applicants for the creative-nonfiction award must have published five essays, memoirs or creative-nonfiction articles within the past three years in major academic journals or national magazines. Each applicant submits a maximum of 30 pages of published or unpublished work, and a panel of 12 former award recipients and published authors selects the fellowship awards.

The financial award is intended to help the author complete a writing project and may be used for research, travel, materials and supplies in support of the project. Fellowship recipients are expected to move toward completion of a book-length manuscript during the one-year grant period and continue publishing.

For more information about the NEA and the 2004 Literature Fellowships, visit on the Web.

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