Poet, essayist Sheryl St. Germain receives 19th annual Louisiana Writer Award

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Sheryl St. Germain

The Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is proud to announce Louisiana native Sheryl St. Germain has been selected as the recipient of the 19th annual Louisiana Writer Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Louisiana letters and cultural life.

“We are fortunate to live in a state which produces such rich literary talent,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “We are proud to call Sheryl St. Germain one of our own, and I am excited for the opportunity not only to present this award to her, but to introduce additional Louisiana readers to her impressive body of work.”

“Sheryl’s work is as profoundly beautiful as it is important, even as it faces difficult and complex subject matter,” said State Librarian of Louisiana Rebecca Hamilton. “She joins celebrated past recipients such as Ernest Gaines, Valerie Martin, Elmore Leonard, Yusef Komunyakaa, Tim Gautreaux, and the late Christina Vella, to name only a few. It is an honor to present this award to such a truly outstanding writer.”

St. Germain is the author of five books of poetry, including her most recent publication, The Small Door of Your Death, which chronicles the loss of her only son to heroin addiction. She has also published two memoirs, Swamp Songs: The Making of an Unruly Woman, and Navigating Disaster: Sixteen Essays of Love and a Poem of Despair. A new collection of essays, Fifty Miles, is forthcoming in spring 2020.

St. Germain is the recipient of several awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Literature Fellowships, a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship, the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship, the Ki Davis Award from the Aspen Writers Foundation, and the William Faulkner Award for the personal essay. She has taught creative writing at numerous universities and colleges including The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and currently directs the Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing at Chatham University in Pennsylvania where she also teaches creative nonfiction and poetry.

“My earliest poems and essays were inspired by the culture and nature of south Louisiana,” said Sheryl St. Germain, 2018 Louisiana Writer Award recipient. “From the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain to the Atchafalaya Basin the landscape of Louisiana nurtured me as child and adult, and provided hope and a deep sense of history and belonging even when there were darker forces at work in our culture. I’ve written works celebrating the food, the music, and the passion for joy found in the people here, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say I owe my vocation as writer to Louisiana.”

Both Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton will be in attendance to present St. Germain with the 2018 Louisiana Writer Award on Saturday, November 10, at the opening ceremony of the Louisiana Book Festival at the State Capitol. For more information on St. Germain and her work, please visit the Louisiana Writer Award webpage.

Contributed by the La. Office of the Lt. Governor