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Brooklyn College M.F.A. Students Receive Himan Brown Creative Writing Awards

Brooklyn College M.F.A. Students Receive Himan Brown Creative Writing Awards

Standing behind Department of English Chairperson Ellen Tremper and Himan Brown are M.F.A. students Lindsay Merbaum, JoAnne Steglitz, Marie Bertino, Sibyl Kempson, Brian Parks, and Amber Reed. Not pictured are award-winners Mohan Sikka and Karinne Keithley.

Winners of the first Himan Brown Creative Writing Awards gathered at Brooklyn College to meet their benefactor, Himan Brown, '34, at a celebratory luncheon on March 14. The awards, determined through a writing competition held last fall, were given to outstanding playwrights and fiction writers enrolled in the Brooklyn College Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, and ranged from $3,000 to $4,500. Himan Brown has funded these awards for the next five years with a generous $150,000 gift.

At the luncheon, Brown reflected on his relationship with writers like his Brooklyn College classmate Irwin Shaw, mystery writer Dashiell Hammett and his companion, the combative Lillian Hellman, and the reclusive J.D. Salinger, who rented a house from Brown for two years during the late 1940s. Brown is best known for producing and directing a long string of radio dramas, from Marie, the Little French Princess, the first nationally syndicated soap opera; the legendary Grand Central Station and the Inner Sanctum mystery programs of the 1930s and '40s, to the late reflowering of radio drama in his CBS Radio Mystery Theater, which ran from 1974 to 1982. Over the course of his career, Brown has been the recipient of a Peabody Award and an American Broadcast Pioneer Award, and in 1990 was inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame. In 2004 Brooklyn College awarded Brown an honorary doctorate in fine arts.

The M.F.A. program at Brooklyn College is a small, highly personal two-year program that confers Master of Fine Arts degrees in fiction, poetry, and playwriting. It offers workshops, seminars, and one-on-one tutorials. It stresses the relationship between faculty and students. For more information on the Brooklyn College M.F.A. program in Creative Writing, please contact Mark Patkowski, graduate deputy chairperson and professor of English (718) 951-5197, or e-mail