Tuesday, May 6, 2008

2008 GSAS Alumni/Alumnae Award

Congratulations to our two 2008 GSAS Alumni/Alumnae Achievement Award recipients, Toi Derricotte (GSAS '84) and Kate Medina (GSAS '92), who will be honored at the Dean's Luncheon on May 17, 2008.

Toi Derricotte was born in Hamtramck, Michigan. She earned her B.A. in special education from Wayne State University and her M.A. in English literature from New York University.

Her books of poetry include Tender (1997) which won the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize; Captivity (1989); Natural Birth (1983); and The Empress of the Death House (1978). She is also the author of a literary memoir, The Black Notebooks (W.W. Norton, 1997), which won the 1998 Annisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction.

Together with Cornelius Eady, she co-founded Cave Canem, a workshop retreat for black poets, in 1996.

About her work, the poet Sharon Olds has said, "Toi Derricotte's poems show us our underlife, tender and dreadful. And they are vibrant poems, poems in the voice of the living creature, the one who escaped - and paused, and turned back, and saw, and cried out. This is one of the most beautiful and necessary voices in American poetry today."

Her honors include the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, two Pushcart Prizes, the Distinguished Pioneering of the Arts Award from the United Black Artists, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Guggenheim, and the Maryland State Arts Council.

She teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.

Kate Medina, is Executive Vice President, Associate Publisher and Executive Editorial Director of Random House, the flagship imprint of the Random House Publishing Group. In her twenty-two years at Random House, Ms. Medina has been responsible for acquisition, editing, development, sales, marketing, and profitability of books for a wide readership.

Among the authors she has edited are Alan Alda, Peter Benchley, Elizabeth Berg, Amy Bloom, Bill Bradley, Tom Brokaw, Anita Brookner, Elisabeth Bumiller, Gail Caldwell, Ethan Canin, Michael Chabon, Robert Coles, E.L. Doctorow, Fannie Flagg, Jane Fonda, Charles Frazier, Alan Furst, Carlos Fuentes, Elizabeth Gaffney, Mavis Gallant, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Amitav Ghosh, Carol Gilligan, Kathryn Harrison, John Irving, Robert Kaplan, Tracy Kidder, Annie Leibovitz, Yiyun Li, Wynton Marsalis, Bobbie Ann Mason, Jon Meacham, James A. Michener, Nancy Milford, Azar Nafisi, Marsha Norman, Sandra Day O'Connor, Anna Quindlen, Nancy Reagan, William Safire, Maggie Scarf, Sally Bedell Smith, Hedrick Smith, Gloria Steinem, Christopher Tilghman, and Alice Walker. She has also recently acquired forthcoming books by Katherine Boo, Jonathan Darman, Adrien Nicole Leblanc, and has fostered new talent in debut fiction authors Ellen Baker, Alan Drew, and many others.

Kate Medina began her career in publishing at Doubleday & Co., Inc., rising to Executive Editor, Vice President before joining Random House in 1985. The recipient of the PEN/Roger Kline Award for Editorial Achievement and Creative Editing, she has been a Fellow at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College. Ms. Medina is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has served on the Advisory Boards of the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Henry Street Settlement, and the Century Association.

Ms. Medina lives in New York City and has one son.

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