Amherst English Professor Judith Frank Lands NEA Grant for New Book

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

December 18, 2007
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass. – Judith Frank, professor of English and creative writing at Amherst College, has a received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) 2008 Literature Fellowship in creative writing. The author secured the $25,000 award for her novel-in-progress, Noah’s Ark.

Frank received the fellowship based on her submission of the first chapter of Noah’s Ark. One of just 42 writers chosen from 777 applications to receive the award, she plans to use it to finish her book and will take leave from Amherst during the 2008-09 academic year to do so.

Noah’s Ark tells the story of a gay couple living in Northampton, Mass. When a family member is killed in a café bombing in Jerusalem, his two children are sent to live with the couple. Drama ensues, however, when the couple’s extended family expresses concerns about the children being raised by gay parents. The novel addresses the issues of terrorism, bereavement, parenting and the conflicted connections between Israel and American Jews.

Frank is also author of Crybaby Butch ($14.95, 416 pp., Firebrand Books, 2004), which traces the connection between two butch lesbians of different generations: a middle-class, 30-something adult literacy teacher and her older, working-class student. In the book, Frank examines the relationship between education and gender, class and racial identity against the backdrop of a disparate group of adult learners. The novel earned her the 2000 fiction prize of the Astraea Foundation’s Emerging Lesbian Writer’s Fund and the 2005 Lambda Literary Award, which celebrates the publication of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual literature.

Frank received a doctorate in English literature and a master’s degree in fiction writing from Cornell University. She has also published Common Ground: Eighteenth-Century English Satiric Fiction and the Poor.

The 2008 NEA Literature Fellowships recognize writers of prose, encouraging the production of new work by affording these writers the time and means to write. Each literature fellow receives a $25,000 award.

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