University of Alaska Southeast

UAS Faculty Jenifer Rae Vernon Honored with Tillie Olsen Award for Working Class Literature

Juneau, AK
Date of Press Release: June 16, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE--Jenifer Rae Vernon, author of the poetry debut, Rock Candy (West End Press, 2009), and an Assistant Professor of Communications at the University of Alaska Southeast has won the Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing. The Working Class Studies Association <> grants the Tillie Olsen Award for the best published book that honors the “voices, experiences, and perspective of working-class people” in the genres of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. The award was presented at the "How Class Works" conference at SUNY Stony Brook, Long Island, June 3-5.

West End Press publisher John Crawford has been pleased with the success of Rock Candy, which has included coverage on Garrison Keillor’s "Writer’s Almanac" radio program. "Jen Vernon's work expresses so much West End Press has tried to bring to light over the years," admits Crawford. "Jen’s flawless sense of language, her roots in a working class society, and the courage, pain, and triumph of the story she tells. She is a truth-teller, and we are proud of her."

Jenifer Rae Vernon grew up in a big family in a small logging town in the Pacific Northwest. Vernon began writing poetry and prose in community college and self-published big chapbooks called Wild Ivy, Athalia and Stretch, which drew on her archive of poetry, prose, photography, and interviews to explore religion, sexuality, gender and power issues. A Washington native, Vernon holds a bachelor’s degree from Evergreen College, a master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Oregon, and a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of California, San Diego. She is Assistant Professor of Communications at the University of Alaska Southeast, in Juneau.


For info and images, or to schedule an interview with Jen Vernon, please contact:
Amanda Sutton
Publicity, West End Press
505-400-3898 |> <


Jenifer Vernon

Assistant Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences - Humanities, Juneau campus