Creative Writing’s Toni Jensen Awarded Fellowship From National Endowment for the Arts

by | Jan 16, 2020 | Awards & Honors, Faculty Points of Pride, Features

Toni Jensen, a professor of fiction in the Program in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas, has been awarded a Creative Writing Fellowship of $25,000 for the upcoming fiscal year. The fellowship was awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jensen is one of only 36 writers in the nation who will receive the award and was selected from nearly 1,700 eligible applicants.

“To say that we are proud of Toni’s achievements is an understatement,” said Davis McCombs, director of the Program in Creative Writing and Translation in the university’s Department of English. “We are thrilled that her terrific work is being acknowledged and awarded by the NEA. This award marks the start of what is sure to be a remarkable year for Toni.”

These fellowships enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel and general career advancement. Fellows are selected through a highly competitive, anonymous process and are judged on the artistic excellence of the work sample provided.

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support our nation’s writers, including Toni Jensen, and the artistry, creativity, and dedication that go into their work,” said Mary Anne Carter, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.

“This highly prestigious award to Toni Jensen is a wonderful achievement and not in the least surprising. She is one of the brightest rising stars of the department,” said William Quinn, chair of the Department of English in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

Toni Jensen is the author of Carry, a memoir-in-essays about gun violence, land and indigenous women’s lives, forthcoming from Ballantine in September 2020. She is also the author of a short story collection, From the Hilltop. She is the recipient of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. Her essays and stories have been published in journals such as OrionCatapult and Ecotone. She teaches in the Program in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas and in the low residency M.F.A. Program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is Métis.

About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3 percent of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring. 

A version of this story also appeared in the U of A’s Newswire publication.

Jane V. Blunschi

Assistant Director  

Program in Creative Writing and Translation

479-575-4301 // mfa@uark.edu