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Rilla Askew

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Rilla Askew

Rilla Askew

Associate Professor

BFA Theatre Performance, University of Tulsa, 1980
MFA in Creative Writing, Brooklyn College, 1987

Rilla Askew is the author of four novels, a book of stories, and a collection of creative nonfiction, as well as plays, articles, and essays. Her first novel, The Mercy Seat was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dublin IMPAC Prize, and received the Oklahoma Book Award and the Western Heritage Award in 1998. Her novel about the Tulsa Race Massacre, Fire in Beulah, received the American Book Award, the Myers Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, and was selected as the centennial book for Oklahoma’s One Book One State program. Her novel Harpsong, published by the University of Oklahoma Press, received seven literary awards including the Oklahoma Book Award, the WILLA Award from Women Writing the West, the Violet Crown Award from the Writers League of Texas, and the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Her novel Kind of Kin, the story of a fractured family and small-town community at the vortex of Oklahoma’s immigration laws, was a finalist for the Spur Award from Western Writers of America, longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Prize, and selected for Amarillo Reads in 2017. Askew’s collection of essays on race and place, Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place, was longlisted for the PEN/America Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay in 2018.

Askew received a 2009 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book in 2011. She has taught creative writing in MFA writing programs at Brooklyn College, Syracuse University, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in Nimrod, Tin House, TriQuarterly, World Literature Today, The London Daily Telegraph, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and elsewhere. Currently she is at work on a novel about the Early Modern Reformist and writer Anne Askew, who was burned a heretic at Smithfield in 1546.

Office: Cate 2, Room 306

Research and Teaching Interests:
Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Oklahoma History, Historical Fiction, Early Modern Women Writers.

Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place (University of Oklahoma Press, 2017)
Kind of Kin (Ecco Press US / Atlantic Press UK, 2013)
Harpsong (University of Oklahoma Press, 2007)
Strange Business (reissue, University of Oklahoma Press, 2007)
Fire in Beulah (Viking Penguin, 2001)
The Mercy Seat (Viking Penguin, 1998)
Strange Business (Viking Penguin, 1992)