To enhance our strong program in creative writing, the Department of English established the Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship in Creative Writing.
This annual fellowship is designed to support writers completing their first books. It provides a generous stipend, office space, and an intellectual community for the recipients, who spend one academic year at Colgate. In return, each fellow teaches one creative writing workshop per semester and gives a public reading of their work.
2019–2020 Olive B. O’Connor Fellows
Gbenga Adesina is a Nigerian poet. He writes, among other things, about memory, grief, joy, complex joy, the minutiae of love, of home, the sea as archive, the sea as history, migration, and the intimacy and violence of journeys. Other poems have appeared in Narrative, Prairie Schooner, Washington Square Review, Vinyl, Brittle Paper and Ploughshares. He has received fellowships and scholarships from the Poets House, the Norman Mailer Center, the Fine Arts Work Centre, Provincetown, the Open Society Foundation in Goree Island, off the coast of Senegal, Callaloo at Oxford and New York University where he received his MFA and held the Starworks and Goldwater Fellowships. He was a joint winner of the 2016 Brunel International Poetry Prize, the 2017 Hugh J. Luke Award from Prairie Schooner, and the 2019 Palette Poetry Spotlight Award.
Annie Vitalsey is a fiction writer whose stories have appeared in Reed Magazine, Bennington Review, Pacifica Literary Review, Menacing Hedge, Spilled Milk Magazine, Watershed Review, and elsewhere. In 2018, she was a Virginia G. Piper Global Residency Fellow and received her first Pushcart nomination. In 2019, she was also awarded a Desert Nights Teaching Fellowship. Vitalsey has an MFA from Arizona State University, and is currently working on her first novel.