University of Southern Indiana

Patricia Aakhus Award

The Southern Indiana Review, USI Department of English, and USI Foundation are delighted to announce the creation of the Patricia Aakhus Award, celebrating the life and work of our esteemed colleague and dear friend who led an exemplary life in support of the arts. The $750 award will go to the best work across all genres appearing in SIR in a given year and is, therefore, aptly named for Patty, whose talents and interests simply could not be contained in just one discipline or department.

2019 Winner

April Sopkin lives in Richmond, Virginia. Her work appears in Carve Magazine, The Southampton Review, failbetter, SAND Journal, and elsewhere. Her prose has won the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest (2019) and the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize (2018), and been supported by fellowships and artist residencies from the Tin House Summer Workshop, Hypatia-in-the-Woods, Jentel, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

2018 Winner

Raye Hendrix is a poet from Alabama who loves cats, crystals, college football, and classic rock. Raye is a graduate of Auburn University and a current MFA candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, where she works as the Online Content & Web Editor for Bat City Review. In 2018, Raye was a finalist for the Keene Prize for Literature, the Fania Kruger Fellowship in Writing, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal’s Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Poetry Prize. She has received honorable mentions for poetry from AWP’s Intro Journals Project (2015) and Southern Humanities Review’s Witness Poetry Prize honoring Jake Adam York (2014). Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and in The Chattahoochee Review, Shenandoah, The Pinch, Cherry Tree, and elsewhere..

Raye's award-winning poem, "Blood in the Milk," appeared in the spring 2018 issue.

2017 Winner

Katie Schmid has a chapbook, Forget Me, Hit Me, Let Me Drink Great Quantities of Clear, Evil Liquor available at Split Lip Press. She's been published at The Rumpus and in Best New Poets, among other places. She lives in Lincoln, NE, with the writer & musician David Henson and their daughter, Margot.

Katie's award-winning poem, "Turning 32," appeared in the spring 2017 issue.

2016 Winner

William BrewerWilliam Brewer is the author of I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, 2017), winner of the National Poetry Series, and Oxyana, selected for the Poetry Society of America's 30 and Under Chapbook Fellowship. His poetry has appeared in Boston Review, Kenyon Review Online, Narrative, The Nation, A Public Space, and other journals. Currently a Wallace Stegner Poetry Fellow at Stanford University, he was born and raised in West Virginia.

William's award-winning poem, "In the New World," appeared in the fall 2016 issue.

2015 Winner


Shara Lessley, a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, is the author of Two-Headed Nightingale (New Issues, 2012). Her awards include the Mary Wood Fellowship from Washington College, an Artist Fellowship from the State of North Carolina, the Diane Middebrook Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, Colgate University’s O'Connor Fellowship, The Gilman School's Tickner Fellowship, and a “Discovery” The Nation prize. Shara’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, Threepenny Review, The Missouri Review, Gettysburg Review, and New England Review, among others. A recent resident of the Middle East, Shara was awarded a 2015 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts and is currently editing an anthology of essays on poetry and place with the poet Bruce Snider.

Shara's award-winning poem, "Vertigo: Boston / The Middle East," appeared in the spring 2015 issue.

2014 Winner

SnevisonaakhusawardwebSusannah Nevison is the author of Teratology (Persea Books, 2015), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry. She is also the recipient of a 2013 Academy of American Poets Larry Levis Prize, the 2013 American Literary Review Poetry Prize, and is a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has recently appeared in or is forthcoming from Ninth Letter, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Journal, Sycamore Review, and elsewhere. She teaches and studies at the University of Utah.

Susannah's award-winning poem, "If You Come to the Sea and You Must Cross," appeared in the spring 2014 issue.

About Patricia Aakhus

PatriciaAakhus Patricia Aakhus published three novels based on epic poems she translated from Old Irish: The Voyage of Duin's Curragh, winner of Readercon's Best Imaginative Literature Award in 1990 and the Cahill Award; Daughter of the Boyne; and The Sorrows of Tara, all published by Wolfhound Press, Dublin. She taught creative writing and the history of alchemy and magic at the University of Southern Indiana, where she was director of International Studies.

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