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By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Robert Rosenberg, assistant professor of English at Bucknell University, has been awarded a 2010 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
"This prestigious award of $25,000 was based on writing that Robert submitted from his new novel," said John Rickard, professor of English and department chair at Bucknell.
According to the NEA, "The 12 panelists convened by the NEA reviewed 25,000 manuscript pages from the 993 eligible applications submitted. The 42 prose writers who were selected come from 17 states and the District of Columbia."
Rosenberg, who joined the Bucknell faculty in 2005, teaches creative writing (fiction), contemporary literature and travel literature. A frequent book review contributor to the Miami Herald and The Moscow Times, he is the author of the novel This Is Not Civilization (Houghton Mifflin, 2004).
This Is Not Civilization was inspired by Rosenberg's experiences teaching as a Peace Corps volunteer in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, on an Apache reservation in Arizona, and in earthquake-shattered Istanbul.
Shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize in Literature, it has received numerous awards, including the 2005 Maria Thomas Fiction Award for Best Peace Corps Novel, A Publisher's Weekly First Fiction Selection, A TimeOut New York Emerging Voices Selection, and was listed as one of Library Journal's "Season's Most Successful Debuts."
This is Not Civilization was also named A BookSense Selection, a BookSense Summer 2005 Paperback Reading Pick, A Borders Books Original Voices Selection, A Miami Herald "Best Literary Offering of the Season," and a Powells.com No. 1 Staff Pick of 2004.
Rosenberg is now at work on a novel set in contemporary Istanbul. The novel explores the overlapping heritage of Jews and Armenians in the city, and their attempts to negotiate, as minorities, an identity in an overwhelmingly Muslim society. It centers on the death of a wealthy young Sephardic Jew, who has challenged the state's denial of the 1915 Armenian genocide. After he is killed in a suspicious boating accident, his brother returns to the city to piece together the true story of the death, whose public account he has never been able to accept.
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