Creative writing faculty members, alumnus receive Ohio Arts Council awards

By Margo Kissell, university news and communications

Brian Ascalon Roley

Brian Ascalon Roley

Miami University creative writing professors Brian Ascalon Roley and TaraShea Nesbit have received Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) board.

Darren Demaree, a creative writing master of arts alumnus, was recognized for poetry.

The awards are peer recognition of creative artists for the exceptional merit of a body of their work that advances or exemplifies the discipline and the larger artistic community, the arts council said in a release.

The $5,000 awards support artists’ growth and development.

Professors work on new novels

Roley, a professor of English and creative writing, received the award for fiction.

“I’m using the funding to work on a novel,” said Roley, who has written two books: The Last Mistress of Jose Rizal and Other Stories (Northwestern University Press, 2016) and American Son: A Novel (W.W. Norton, 2001).

TaraShea Nesbit

TaraShea Nesbit

Nesbit, an assistant professor of English in fiction and creative nonfiction, received the award for nonfiction. She is author of The Wives of Los Alamos (New York: Bloomsbury, 2014).

“The grant will support finalizing my second novel, Beheld, this summer and fall. Beheld reframes the Mayflower pilgrims through the eyes of two women — one saint (a separatist "pilgrim") and one stranger (a former indentured servant) — on the day of the first murder of a white colonist and the subsequent first murder trial in Plymouth,” she said.

Nesbit said she’s also completing edits on a new essay forthcoming in the August issue of Granta.

"See What You Do To Me," is about poverty, class and sexuality in girlhood. The essay is part of a collection she’s writing with the support of the Ohio Arts Council award.

Darren Demaree

Darren Demaree

Alumnus passsionate about poetry

Demaree is managing editor of Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry, and he also teaches English at Miami-Jacobs Career College in Columbus.

He is the author of eight poetry collections. 

“We are fortunate to have a creative abundance of outstanding artists in Ohio,” OAC executive director Donna Collins said.