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Congratulations to the winners of the Fondren Library Undergraduate Creative Writing Awards!

The Larry McMurtry Prize in Fiction ($1000) is awarded to Neha Tallapragada for "Sunny Day". Contest judge Sabrina Orah Mark writes, "This strange and beautifully written story asks what it means to fight for your life.  What does it mean to protest?  What does it mean to desire?  What does it mean to be afraid?  At its edge is a dark humor that feels like a life raft.  At its center are metaphors that slip in and out of being as real as it gets."


The Max Apple Prize in Nonfiction ($1000) is awarded to Jenny Li-Wang for "Second Son". Contest judge Alex Marzano-Lesnevich writes, "Jenny Li-Wang's 'Second Son' is about identity, culture, and inheritance—and the circumnavigations of love. Characters say not quite what they mean; parents carry hidden stories; a daughter returns to the homeland of her family; and even 'baby goats run little planetary circles around their mother.' Caught in a swirl utterly her own and yet beyond her full understanding, our narrator knows she can’t yet tell what she will carry with her, what will someday remain. I loved how elliptically potent this essay was, gorgeous in both language and structure."


The Susan Wood Prize in Poetry ($1000) is awarded to Ana Paula Pinto Diaz for her poems, "Market", "Convocación y Renacimiento", "I Call It Waking", and "After the Eruption". Contest judge Sabrina Orah Mark writes, "These poems unearth a place that feels like a place before god, and seeds, and mouths.  They live in the space before waking, and hold language so tenderly at times the words feel like dust you can plant -- and with water and sunlight -- grow a whole new world."


Thank you to our judges; to the Rice University Department of English, in particular Amber Dermont, Lacy Johnson and Ian Schimmel; and to the nearly fifty students with entries in this year's contests. We are elevated by your contributions to creative writing in our community.


Judges' Bios

The Larry McMurtry Prize in Fiction and the The Susan Wood Prize in Poetry judged by Sabrina Orah Mark

Sabrina Orah Mark grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD in English from the University of Georgia. She is the author of the book-length poetry collections The Babies (2004), winner of the Saturnalia Book Prize chosen by Jane Miller, and Tsim Tsum (2009), as well as the chapbook Walter B.’s Extraordinary Cousin Arrives for a Visit & Other Tales from Woodland Editions.  Her collection of stories, Wild Milk, was published by Dorothy in 2018.  Mark’s awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, and a fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her poetry and stories most recently appear in American Short Fiction, The Bennington Review,  Tin House (Open Bar), The Collagist, jubilat, The Believer, and have been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2007, Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006), and My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales (2010). She has taught at Agnes Scott College, University of Georgia, Rutgers University, University of Iowa, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Goldwater Hospital and throughout the New York City and Iowa Public School System. She lives in Athens Georgia with her husband, Reginald McKnight, and their two sons. For The Paris Review she writes a monthly column on fairytales and motherhood entitled HAPPILY. 

Sabrina Orah Mark


The Max Apple Prize in Nonfiction judged by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

Alex Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, which received a Lambda Literary Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the Grand Prix des Lectrices ELLE, and the Prix France Inter-JDD, an award for one book of any genre in the world. Named one of the best books of the year by Entertainment Weekly,, Bustle, Book Riot, The Times of LondonThe Guardian, and The Sydney Press Herald, it was an Indie Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection, long-listed for the Gordon Burn Prize, short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger, a finalist for a New England Book Award and a Goodreads Choice Award, and has been translated into nine languages. The recipient of fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, as well as a Rona Jaffe Award, Marzano-Lesnevich has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Boston Globe, Oxford American, Harpers, and many other publications. They earned their BA at Columbia University, their JD at Harvard Law School, and their MFA at Emerson College. They are now an assistant professor at Bowdoin College and live in Portland, Maine, with an enormous puppy.

Alex Marzano-Lesnevich

Photo by Greta Rybus

New Rice Faculty Open Access Book Released with Library Support

A new book co-edited by Rice anthropology professor Cymene Howe has been published Open Access (OA) with support from Fondren Library.

Anthropocene Unseen: A Lexicon, co-edited by Associate Professor of Anthropology Cymene Howe and Anand Pandian of Johns Hopkins University, was released this month from punctum books. The volume brings together writings and art on 86 keywords with special relevance for the Anthropocene, our present era when humans have an evident and increasingly damaging effect upon the planet.

Thanks to subvention funding from Fondren Library, this book has been published under a Creative Commons license and is free to download in PDF format.

You can access it through


Fondren Library continues to offer subventions for Rice faculty members to publish their new books in Open Access format. Through the TOME initiative, Fondren can partner with many university presses to release electronic OA versions of books simultaneously with the print versions, thereby widening access to Rice's scholarship. See guidelines for both our book and article subvention programs at


In 2019, these three Rice faculty-authored OA titles were also funded by Fondren Library and published by Duke University Press:

Upcoming Study Break and Therapy Pets

Study Break with Coffee, Snacks and Giveaways
Thursday, December 5 from noon-2pm

Pet Therapy Study Breaks
Wednesday, December 11 from 5-7pm
Thursday, December 12 from 5-9pm
Friday, December 13 from 3-5pm

Read, Study, Collaborate, Research and Learn

The Fondren Learning Zone is a new collection of tutorials explaining Fondren's spaces, research resources and learning opportunities. Whether you're looking for a place to study, getting to know the new OneSearch and other library tools, or wanting a free workshop to enhance your digital media or data management skills, you can find helpful tips and clear instructions in the Fondren Learning Zone. Go to

Read, Study, Collaborate

Learn about the library’s spaces, study rooms, equipment available for checkout, and the support we offer our patrons.


Find books, articles and more at the library using OneSearch and our enormous collection of online resources.


Build your skills in digital media, data management, government research and more.

Access the Fondren Learning Zone

Access the Houston Post Historical Archive

Fondren Library recently purchased the Houston Post Historical Archive.  Our purchase is being used as seed money to finance the digitization of the Houston Post.   The digitization process has started and we now have access to portions of the newspaper from 1886 - 1944.  The digitization is ongoing so keep on checking back for more years.

To access the Houston Post Historical Archive, use the following link:


Oxford Bibliographies Online - Several Subject Areas

Every Oxford Bibliographies article gives expert overviews and lists of handpicked, annotated sources for further study. This resource is one of the best ways to efficiently get an expert’s perspective on the scholarly literature around a subject.


Fondren currently provides access to the following Oxford Bibliographies modules, constituting hundreds of bibliographic articles:


African Studies


American Literature



Art History


Atlantic History


British and Irish Literature






Environmental Science


Evolutionary Biology




Latin American Studies


Medieval Studies






Political Science






And currently on trial: Management!