Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Illinois Department of English Blog


Welcome to the Department of English blog.

My name is Vicki Mahaffey and I took over as
head of the department on July 1, 2016. I'll be using this site to post updates and information of interest to our faculty, students, and alumni,
along with reflections about our discipline(s) in particular and the humanities in general. As anyone who has ever worked or studied here knows, the Department of English is a vibrant place. If you have something you'd like to see posted here, or if you want to contact me about the content of this blog, drop me an email at

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Janice Harrington wins Jaffe Foundation Award

Janice Harrington, a terrific poet and children's writer who teaches in our creative writing program, has just been named one of six recipients of the 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Awards. These awards (and here I'm quoting from the Foundation's own web page) go to "women writers of exceptional talent" with an emphasis "on those in the early stages of their writing careers." Jaffe, herself a bestselling author, established her foundation in 1995, and since then it has given out more than $1 million to support the careers of emergent women writers.

I couldn't be happier about this, frankly, because I too feel that Janice Harrington is an exceptional talent. But don't take my word for it. Go see for yourself: you can find one of my favorite poems from her book Even The Hollow My Body Made Is Gone here, at her own author website. Browse around there and you'll also find out about her children's books, which are pretty remarkable too. I say this as a kind of personal testimonial based in part on the reactions of my own kids: I have read The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County to my daughter many, many times, and watched both of my kids become totally enthralled when Janice read it aloud herself at an after-school reading-night event at their school.

This is a well-deserved award and one that I'm really delighted to be able to celebrate here. Congratulations, Janice!

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