Clark College English department faculty member Gail Robinson has been selected as a recipient of a prestigious 2005 Oregon Literary Fellowship sponsored by the Portland-based non-profit organization Literary Arts. The program provides grants to Oregon writers to initiate, develop, or complete a project in the genres of poetry, fiction, literary nonfiction, drama, and young reader’s literature.
Robinson was awarded $500 in the literary nonfiction category to complete her memoir with the working title Into the Silence. It will delve into her family’s struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction, and sexual abuse and the impact of her sister’s suicide at the age of 22. She describes her book in these words, “In this memoir I enter into the many silences of my family in order to reclaim who we are and stand more truly in the light of the love which illuminates our core.”
The award has proven to be a great source of encouragement to Robinson. “It’s a powerful affirmation from a respected body that gives me the inspiration to keep writing,” she says. Clark College has also supported her in the endeavor by allowing her the flexibility to teach a reduced class load. The labor of love is coming forth on its own schedule, but she hopes to have a complete draft within a year.
Robinson, who resides in Portland, has been a full-time English instructor at Clark College since 1993. She holds a B.A. from Miami University in Ohio and earned a M.A. in English from Portland State University.
Since 1987, Literary Arts has honored 491 different Oregon writers and publishers, and distributed more than $500,000 in fellowships and award monies. After receiving over 300 applicants this year, out-of state judges awarded grants to only 18 writers. Robinson will be recognized with other fellowship recipients at a reception in March.