Sukrungruang inks writing fellowship

Ira SukrungruangOswego’s Ira Sukrungruang recently earned a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature for 2005-06 that supports emerging writers.

The program is geared to help further the creativity of up-and-coming writers through $7,000 grants. The most recent round, for poetry and nonfiction writers, recognized 14 outstanding applicants. Every other year, NYFA makes selections among fiction writers.

“I was fortunate to be chosen,” said Sukrungruang, an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Oswego. “I was very surprised, because I’m competing with everybody in New York state and so many in and around New York City.”

The grant will help Sukrungruang concentrate on writing during academic breaks.

Sukrungruang submitted the first chapter of his manuscript “Talk Thai: An American Memoir,” a work he is currently shopping to publishers. He has co-edited “What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology” and “Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology” and has published many fiction, nonfiction and poetry pieces in journals and anthologies.

The NYFA fellowship also includes a community service component, generally to promote literacy and greater appreciation of the published word.

“We’re just not reading as much as a society as we used to,” Sukrungruang noted. “It’s a national crisis that we’ve lost about 28 million readers since 1982 and gained about four million writers. As a writer, that’s a scary statistic.”

Sukrungruang and Dan Roche, another NYFA nonfiction fellow, will present a reading at the Syracuse YMCA’s Downtown Writing Center at 7 p.m. April 7. The lecture will be free and open to the public at the Downtown Y, 340 Montgomery St. in Syracuse.

“I think it’s a really good idea to give back to the community, which is definitely needed,” he said. “This is a really great way to promote the arts.”

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(Posted: Feb 08, 2006)