Dzanc Prize 2008 Winner:
Kodi Scheer of Ann Arbor, Michigan is the winner of the second annual $5,000 Dzanc Prize. Scheer was selected from more than 100 applicants for both the quality of her fiction writing, as well as her proposal to serve as a writer-in-residence in the Complementary Therapies Program at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Ann Arbor. For her community service, Scheer will conduct three 10-week workshops at the University of Michigan Hospital for cancer patients, caregivers and hospital staff. We at Dzanc found Kodi’s conviction in the importance of providing the tools for self-expression to cancer patients and their care givers a monumentally significant undertaking. Kodi’s work will help people going through an extremely tough time find a means of expression and a way to share their experiences. Throughout the workshop there will be an exploration of connections to friends, family, illness, and language. Scheer, a University of Michigan English Literature teacher, will begin her service in 2009 with half of the prize awarded in January and the other half awarded once the service is completed.
Steven Gillis, Publisher of Dzanc Books, notes: “Kodi's writing has a touch of the old soul in it. She is a great storyteller, while at the same time conveying a deep rooted wisdom. To be honest, Kodi was a finalist last year and - other than the obvious excellence of our first winner, Laura van den Berg - we at Dzanc didn't want to appear prejudiced by favoring a hometown writer. We did ask Kodi - and the other 2007 finalists to submit their proposals again, and this year, with new writings, Kodi's material rose quickly to the top out of some 100 national submissions, to where we couldn't ignore the excellence of her work or her wonderful community project. ”
Scheer, a native of Blairstown, Iowa, and graduate of the Universities of Iowa and Michigan, is currently working on a short story collection, Gross Anatomy, and plans to complete that. She says, “I'm honored to be selected for the 2008 Dzanc Prize and grateful to Dzanc for the opportunity to complete my manuscript while giving back to the community. I'm thrilled to start teaching workshops at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, where I'll help patients, caregivers, and staff find small moments of closure and provide an outlet for personal expression.”
Kodi Scheer discusses winning the Dzanc Prize:
Kodi Scheer teaches English Literature at the University of Michigan, where she received the 2008 Prize in Creative Writing for outstanding MFA thesis. Her stories have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review and Quarterly West. Currently, she is completing a collection of short fiction tentatively titled Gross Anatomy.