News from Public Affairs

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Contact: GREG CANNON, OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, (845) 575-3174

MARIST PROFESSOR WINS GOLD MEDAL AT INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER AWARDS

POUGHKEEPSIE - Tommy Zurhellen, associate professor of English at Marist College, was recently awarded a Gold Medal for his debut novel Nazareth, North Dakota at the 2012 Independent Publisher Awards (IPPYs) in New York City.

"I'm thrilled to have my novel recognized at the IPPY awards this year," Zurehellen said. "To me, these awards are so important because they honor many writers and editors whose work might fall outside the mainstream. I'm also happy literary fiction likeNazareth, North Dakota still has a sizable audience who enjoy literature that challenges them a bit."

Professor Tommy ZurhellenNazareth, North Dakota (Atticus Books) won the "Best Fiction: Midwest" category for its irreverent re-telling of the story of the young Messiah, set in the lonely prairie and Badlands of North Dakota starting in the 1980s. Publishers Weekly said of Nazareth, North Dakota: “[T]his debut novel reveals the hardscrabble life of normal, unguided people who put their last dollars in the juke box and don’t worry about what will happen when the song ends … Zurhellen’s masterful dialogue often makes for gripping scenes that sustain these characters for decades.”

 
Zurhellen has taught creative writing at Marist since 2004, and his short fiction and essays have appeared widely in literary journals, including Quarterly WestCarolina Quarterly, and Appalachee Review. His second novel, Apostle Islands, is forthcoming in September 2012 from Atticus Books. He received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Alabama.
 
The IPPYs have been held annually each June since 1996 to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction titles from academic and small presses from around the world. 
 
For more information on Nazareth, North Dakota or its forthcoming sequel Apostle Islands, visit the Atticus Books website at www.atticusbooksonline.com.
 

For further information, call the Marist College Office of Public Affairs at (845) 575-3174.

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