Joanna Pearson, MFA ’09, Wins the Drue Heinz Literature Prize

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The Writing Seminars is pleased to share that Joanna Pearson of Carrboro, North Carolina is the 2021 winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, one of the nation’s most prestigious awards for a collection of short stories. Pearson’s Now You Know It All was selected by Pulitzer Prizewinning author Edward P. Jones. The University of Pittsburgh Press will publish Pearson’s collection in October 2021.

Joanna Pearson is a lapsed poet who once wrote a young adult novel on a whim but nowadays mostly writes short fiction. Her first collection of stories, Every Human Love (Acre Books, 2019) was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Awards, the Foreword Indies Awards, and the Janet Heidinger Prize for Fiction. Her stories have appeared in Best Small Fictions, Best of the Net, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Ecotone, Kenyon Review Online, The Sewanee Review, Subtropics, as well as other journals, and have been listed as notable in Best American Short Stories 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2015. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars and an MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. A native of Western North Carolina, she now lives with her husband and two daughters near Chapel Hill, where she works as a psychiatrist.

In addition to publication by UPP, the Heinz award also includes a cash prize of $15,000. Drue Heinz, who passed away in 2018, created the endowment for this accolade in 1981.