Casper-raised educator and author Nina McConigley, currently an assistant professor in the University of Wyoming Honors College, has been selected for a prestigious fellowship program at Harvard University.
She has taught creative writing at UW for a decade and was recently named the Walter Jackson Bate Fellow in Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study for the 2019-2020 academic year.
The acceptance rate for the highly competitive fellowships was 3.7 percent. The incoming fellows represent 10 countries and were selected from a group of more than 1,000 applicants.
Born in Singapore to Irish and Indian parents, McConigley grew up in Casper. She holds a master’s degree in English from UW, a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Houston and a bachelor’s degree in literature from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. She is a graduate of Natrona County High School.
McConigley has made it clear that she intends to return to UW after her year in Boston, and that she has no intention of becoming a New England Patriots fan.
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During her year at Harvard, McConigley will work on a novel about the rural immigrant experience in the American West.
“It is such an opportunity to be selected, and I can’t wait to represent the University of Wyoming at Harvard,” McConigley said. “To have a year to research and work with some of the top minds in the world is a dream. I hope to not only finish my book, but to be sparked for future work by the research and work of other scholars. I teach in the Honors College at UW, and being in this interdisciplinary fellowship feels like I get to be a kind of honors student for a year.”
The 2019-2020 fellowship class includes 55 scholars who will direct their creative and intellectual energy to producing solutions to some of the most complex and urgent challenges of our time.
In 2009, a short story McConigley wrote, titled “Curating Your Life,” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize, which honors the best new literature of the year. The story went on to be featured in her collection of short stories, “Cowboys and East Indians,” (2013), winner of the International PEN Open Book Award and the High Plains Book Award for Best Short Stories, which also was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine’s Best Prize Winning Books in 2014.
Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Short Fiction and the Asian American Literary Review, among others.
McConigley is a fellow with the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers’ conferences, and has served on the faculty of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. An in-demand speaker and reader, she has been the featured author at international, national and regional conferences, and frequently lectures across UW.
As an award-winning creative writer, one who focuses on global perspectives and diversity, McConigley’s classes for the Honors College include the first-year colloquium, “Indian Short Story,” “the Empire Writes Back” and “Art and Cultural Identity.”