Rutgers University, Newark, Professor A Finalist For National Book Critics Circle Award In Fiction

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Jayne Anne Phillips Nominated for Lark and Termite

NEWARK, N.J. –- Rutgers Professor Jayne Anne Phillips has again been recognized for her 2009 novel, Lark & Termite (Knopf), this time being named one of five  finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award in fiction.  The finalists were announced on Jan. 23; winners will be named on March 11.

National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Jayne Anne PhillipsPhillips, founder and director of the Master of Fine Arts In Creative Writing Program at Rutgers in Newark, was also a finalist for the National Book Award for Lark & Termite.  The novel – her fourth –also was awarded the 2009 Heartland Prize.  A coming-of-age novel, it centers on 17-year-old Lark; 9-year-old Termite, her severely disabled half brother; their caretaker and maternal aunt, Nonie; their mother Lola; and Corporal Robert Leavitt, Termite’s father.  Phillips is the author of MotherKind (2000), Shelter (1994) and Machine Dreams (1984), and two collections of widely anthologized stories, Fast Lanes (1987) and Black Tickets (1979. 

The San Francisco Chronicle named Lark & Termite one of the best books of 2009, as did New Yorker writer Lauren Collins and New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani. Pulitzer-Prize winning author Junot Diaz called Lark & Termite the best novel he had read all year. 

She developed the MFA program in 2007, drawing upon the urban energy of Newark and the diversity of the Rutgers campus.   

Phillips is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and a Bunting Fellowship. She has been awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction (1980) and an Academy Award in Literature (1997) by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her work has been translated into 12 languages and has appeared in Granta, Harper’s, DoubleTake and The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction.

Born and raised in West Virginia, Phillips received her bachelor’s degree in English from West Virginia University and her MFA from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. To learn more about Phillips and her work, visit

Media Contact: Carla Capizzi