Rollins College Partners with the National Book Awards

The College’s annual literary festival is expected to generate even more buzz now that it’s affiliated with the nation’s premier literary event.

It’s still summer, but Carol Frost is more than ready to put Rollins College on the national stage with a groundbreaking event at the 2016 Winter With the Writers literary festival.

Thanks to a new partnership with the National Book Foundation (NBF), on February 25, Rollins College will host two authors whose work has earned distinction from the National Book Awards (NBA). As the Southeast’s sole representative of the NBA on Campus program, Rollins’ selection “affirms our commitment to excellence in writing and contemporary literature,” says Frost, Theodore Bruce and Barbara Lawrence Alfond Professor of English and director of Winter With the Writers.

Each year, 20 NBA judges whittle down more than 1,400 American books in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature. The top 10 authors are announced in September, finalists are named in October, and one winner is selected in each category on November 18 during a ceremony in New York City.

Frost along with Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the NBF, will work together to select which finalists or winners will speak at Rollins. From there, they’ll develop a schedule that includes public and private events and a live-streamed Q&A.

“Until about 10 years ago, there was an idea that the National Book Awards was a New York-based program,” Augenbraum says. “But we want to reflect that this is the nation’s premier literary event, and that’s why we’re partnering with schools like Rollins College that are strong in writing, literature, and the humanities.

The other three representatives in the NBA on Campus program include Amherst College (Northeast), Concordia College (Midwest), and Sam Houston State (Southwest).

In addition to the reputation of its English department, Rollins was selected, Augenbraum says, because of the “quality of the people on campus” and the relationship the NBA has with Frost, who served as a judge several years ago.

“A lot of high school students will be even more attracted to Rollins now because of our ties to the National Book Foundation,” Frost says. “Students tell me all the time that a reason they come to Rollins is because of Winter With the Writers. It’s a unique opportunity unlike any other for undergraduates to work very closely with high-profile writers and helps our students who are serious about writing to come to an understanding about what makes a contemporary story, a book of poems, a play, or a novel not only readable but necessary.”

2016 Winter With the Writers Lineup

  • February 4: Antonio Skármeta, Chilean novelist, screenwriter and diplomat, whose novel Ardiente paciencia was adapted for the screen twice, including in 1995 for the Italian film Il Postino (The Postman).
  • February 11: Philip F. Deaver, professor of English at Rollins and author of the soon-to-be-released Forty Martyrs, which follows the intertwining lives of a psychologist, his wife, his lover, his lover’s husband, and his lover’s own paramour in the small town of Tuscola, Illinois.
  • February 18: Chase Twichell, Irving Bacheller Professor of Creative Writing and author of seven books of poetry, most recently Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New and Selected Poems.
  • February 25: Ross Gay, author of Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, a finalist for the 2015 National Book Awards for poetry.
  • February 25: Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus, a finalist for the 2015 National Book Awards for nonfiction.

For more details, including updates closer to the event, visit the Winter With the Writers homepage.