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Gannon University Presents its 44th Annual Writing Awards

Published: 04/16/2021

Renowned Poet, speaking at Gannon's 44th Annual Writing Awards, Sherwin Bitsui

Renowned Poet, speaking at Gannon's 44th Annual Writing Awards, Sherwin Bitsui

Gannon University will host its 44th annual Writing Awards Ceremony at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 16 via Zoom.

Registration is free and open to the public at

This multi-disciplinary event supports and celebrates students’ diverse academic and artistic achievements in writing.

During the event, Gannon students will be recognized for their accomplishments in research writing, journalism and poetry. The winners of Gannon’s National High School Poetry Contest will also be recognized, and Erie-based poets will be honored with the Berwyn Moore young Erie Poet Award.

The top three winners will receive a monetary award, a signed book by distinguished poet and guest
speaker Sherwin Bitsui, and publication in the Gannon Writing Awards program. Poems may also win Honorable Mention awards.

The 2021 issue of Totem, Gannon's award-winning literary-arts magazine, will be released in early fall.

About the Speaker:

Guest speaker Sherwin Bitsui (Dine´), a distinguished poet and author of three books, will present during this event.

Bitsui is originally from the Navajo Reservation at White Cone, Ariz. He is Dine´ of the Todich'ii'nii (Bitter Water Clan), born of the Tl'izilani (Many Goats Clan).

Bitsui is the author of Shapeshift, Flood Song, and Dissolve. He has published his poems in Narrative, Black Renaissance Noir, American Poet, The Iowa Review, and LIT, among others.

Bitsui’s honors include a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship and a Native Arts & Culture Foundation Arts Fellowship. He is also the recipient of a 2010 PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award.

Bitsui teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He also teaches creative writing at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, which is in full view of the Navajo sacred mountain, Do´o´ko´osliid.

Steeped in Native American culture, mythology and history, Bitsui's poems reveal the tensions in the intersection of Native American and contemporary urban culture. As an ecopoet, his poems are imagistic, surreal and rich with details of the landscape of the Southwest.

Bitsui’s poetry aligns with the theme of Gannon’s Spring 2021 CHESS Speaker Series, which continues the conversation around racial injustices and offers insights into bringing meaningful change.

The event is hosted by Gannon’s English Department.