Orange Alert

Faculty, Alumni to be Recognized at CNY Book Awards Dec. 4

La Casita hosts event for second year in row

Dec. 1, 2014, by Rob Enslin

Syracuse University faculty and alumni are among the finalists for the 2014 CNY Book Awards, organized and presented by the Downtown Writers Center (DWC) of the YMCA Arts Branch.

The annual event, which showcases regional poetry, fiction and nonfiction, returns to La Casita Cultural Center (109 Otisco St., Syracuse) on Thursday, Dec. 4, from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $75 and include hors d'oeuvres, appetizers, wines and juices. Proceeds benefit the DWC.

For tickets and more information, contact Phil Memmer, the YMCA Arts Branch’s executive director, at 315-474-6851, ext. 328, or

The CNY Book Awards are made possible by La Casita Cultural Center in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Gifford Foundation and WAER: Syracuse Public Media (88.3 FM).

“The CNY Book Awards are fast becoming a fall tradition,” says Memmer, who founded DWC in 2000. “In addition to highlighting the area’s rich literary talent, the event celebrates the core values of the Y Arts Branch and our partner organizations, including Syracuse University. Creative self-expression is the lifeblood of our community.”

Finalists with Syracuse connections are as follows:

• Michael Burkard, associate professor of English, for the poetry collection "Some Time in the Winter" (W.D. Hoffstadt & Sons, 2014);

• Jasmine Bailey ’15 for the poetry collection "Alexandria" (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014);

• Joseph E. Fahey L’75, adjunct professor of law, for "James K. McGuire: Boy Mayor and Irish Nationalist" (Syracuse University Press, 2014); and

• David Smith ’74 for "Help! I’m Bored in Church: Entering Fully into Worship in the Divine Liturgy" (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2013).

Two of last year’s winners had ties to the University: poet Stephen Kuusisto, director of the Renee Crown University Honors Program and professor of disability studies; and author Mark Monmonier, Distinguished Professor of Geography.

“We are thrilled to, once again, host the CNY Book Awards,” says Tere Paniagua ’82, Syracuse’s executive director of cultural engagement for the Hispanic community and a Y Arts Branch board member. “I can’t think of a better place to laud our unique literary heritage.”

Paniagua, who oversees La Casita and Point of Contact, says the event coincides with "Balcón Criollo," a gallery-wide installation honoring Latino/a war veterans and their families.

The Y Arts Branch serves nearly 1,000 people a week, of all ages and backgrounds, through after-school programs; private and group arts lessons; and the DWC, which hosts classes, workshops and visiting author readings. The branch maintains close ties with Syracuse University through the Humanities Center and M.F.A. program in creative writing, both of which are based in Arts and Sciences.

Media Contact

Rob Enslin