Nov. 11, 2013

Ishion Hutchinson wins Whiting Writers' Award

Ishion Hutchinson
Lindsay France/University Photography
Ishion Hutchinson

Assistant professor of English Ishion Hutchinson has received a 2013 Whiting Writers’ Award for his debut poetry collection, “Far District: Poems.”

The award is a coveted prize for emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama. Hutchinson was among 10 writers who received the $50,000 award at a ceremony Oct. 21 in New York City. The awards are given annually to 10 writers who have “exceptional talent and promise in early career,” according to the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation.

A native of Port Antonio, Jamaica, Hutchinson came to Cornell in 2012 to teach poetry and creative writing. He is the Meringoff Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow.

The Whiting Foundation Writers’ Program noted that “Far District” (2010, Peepal Tree Press Limited) “is a portrait of a landscape fraught with emblems of colonial history: people caught between cane fields, sugar factories and the sea.”

Hutchinson’s previous honors include a 2011 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for “Far District” and the Academy of American Poets’ Larry Levis Prize. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Granta, The Huffington Post, Poetry Review, Caribbean Review of Books, Poetry International and The Los Angeles Review, among other journals and anthologies.

He earned his B.A. from the University of the West Indies at Mona, an MFA from New York University and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah.

Since its inception in 1985, the Whiting Foundation Writers’ Program has awarded more than $7 million to 280 writers. Past recipients include Cornellians William T. Vollman ’81; Manuel Muñoz, MFA ’98; Lydia Peelle ’00 and Rattawut Lapcharoensap ’01.