Debut Novel Wins Major Award
Hunter College professor and alumnus Michael Thomas has won the 2009 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his debut novel Man Gone Down, about an African-American man at a critical crossroads in his life. Judges called the work - published in 2007 by Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic - a "masterful debut" and Thomas "a writer of enthralling voice and startling insight." The New York Times Book Review had called Man Gone Down one of the 10 best books of 2007. The Dublin award, known as the world's richest literary prize, bestows €100,000 - about $140,000 - to the winning author. Eight writers, including three other Americans, were on this year's "short list." The award is presented annually to promote excellence in world literature.
Corigliano Gets Third Grammy
Distinguished professor of music at Lehman College John Corigliano collected his third Grammy at this year's 51st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony. Corigliano's "Mr. Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan" actually picked up two 2009 Grammies. Corigli-ano won for Best Classical Contemporary Composition; soprano Hila Plitmann, who recorded the album with him, won for Best Classical Vocal Performance. Other honors won by Corigliano, who teaches at The Juilliard School as well as at Lehman, include the Pulitzer Prize in Music and an Oscar for Best Original Score for the film "The Red Violin."
Japan Honors Setsuko Nishi
Setsuko Matsunaga Nishi, professor emerita of sociology at Brooklyn College and the Graduate School from 1965 until her retirement in 1999, was recently honored with Japan's Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays With Neck Ribbon, for her outstanding and lifelong contributions to the promotion of civil rights, sociological study and well-being of Japanese Americans and others. Nishi is founding president of the Asian American Federation Inc., and a past chair of the New York Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. A university student in California when Pearl Harbor was bombed, she had to move to an internment camp like other Pacific Coast Americans of Japanese ancestry until she was cleared to continue her schooling in the Midwest. She and her father eventually started a committee that helped people from the camps start over. She is currently preparing her research on that period for publication.
Literacy Leaders Recognized
Tamara Kirson, lead instructor/staff developer for the City College adult literacy program, has won the 2009 New York Times ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Teacher of the Year Award. The selection committee noted her creativity in integrating civic activities when teaching English, the extraordinary success of her students and her collaborative efforts to improve the Literacy Center. Rosemarie E. Parreno, who teaches English as a Second Language at Hostos Community College, was among three Times' ESOL Teacher Honorees.