The national Association of Writers and Writing Programs has awarded NC State professor of English John Balaban its prestigious George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature. The award recognizes individuals “who have made notable donations of care, time, labor and money to support writers and their literary accomplishments.”
Balaban, selected for the honor from among 55 other nominees, was recognized during AWP’s 50th anniversary gala in Washington in February. AWP provides support, advocacy, resources and community to nearly 50,000 writers, 550 college and university creative writing programs, and 150 writers’ conferences and centers.
In conferring the award, AWP board chairman David Haynes said of Balaban:
He has helped to rescue injured children from Vietnam. He supported and encouraged a student through her travails with breast and kidney cancer. He helped another student leave communist Romania. He helped countless students find jobs and build careers. His letters of nomination for this award are seasoned with place names of four or five continents, because that’s how big his horizons are, and it’s those global horizons to which he introduced his students. He is loved and admired by his students for his deep knowledge of literature and for his great knowledge of the world and its peoples.
Balaban, who is retiring from NC State, has served as the university’s poet in residence, as a professor of English and as a director of the university’s MFA in creative writing program. He is the award-winning author of a dozen books of poetry and prose. He is a translator of Vietnamese poetry, and a past president of the American Literary Translators Association. He is also a director of the Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation.
Read more on the AWP website.