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Rebecca Gayle Howell

Research Interests:
Writing and Translation
Documentary Studies
Literary Globalization and Regionalization


By Appointment 



Ph.D. English. Texas Tech University
M.F.A. Poetry and Translation. Drew University
M.A. Applied Linguistics. University of Kentucky
B.A. English University of Kentucky



Rebecca Gayle Howell is a 2019 United States Artists Fellow. Her most recent book is American Purgatory, selected by Don Share for Great Britain's 2016 Sexton Prize and named a must-read collection by Poetry London, The Millions, and the Courier-Journal. She is also the author of Render / An Apocalypse, which received wide acclaim, most notably by David L. Ulin for the Los Angeles Times who called it "remarkable." Howell's debut was as the translator of Amal al-Jubouri's  Hagar Before the Occupation / Hagar After the Occupation, shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award and selected by Library Journal as a best book of 2011. Among her other honors are fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Carson McCullers Center, as well as a Pushcart Prize. From 2017-2019 she served as the James Still Writer-in-Residence at Hindman Settlement School, where she founded Fireside Industries, an imprint of University Press of Kentucky charged with advancing Appalachian literature. Howell lives in Lexington where she is on faculty at the University of Kentucky's Lewis Honors College. Since 2014, she has served as Poetry Editor for Oxford American. 


Selected Awards

2019. United States Artists Fellowship. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Juried. 
2018. John Egerton Scholar. Southern Foodways Alliance. Selected by John T. Edge. 
2016. The Sexton Prize. Eyewear Publishing. (Great Britain). Selected by Don Share. 
2015. Kentucky Arts Council. Individual Artist Fellowship, Poetry. Juried. 
2015. The Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship for Writers and Musicians. Carson McCullers Center. Juried. 
2014. The Pushcart Prize. Juried.  
2014. Fine Arts Work Center. Poetry Fellowship (Second). Selected by C.D. Wright. 
2013. First Book Prize. Cleveland State University Poetry Center. Selected by Nick Flynn. 
2011. Jules Chametzky Prize in Literary Translation. Juried.  
2010. Fine Arts Work Center. Poetry Fellowship. Juried. 


  • American Purgatory (Eyewear Publishing, London. 2017). 
  • Render / An Apocalypse (CSUPC, Cleveland. 2013). 
  • Hagar Before the Occupation/Hagar After the Occupation. Poems by Amal al-Jubouri. (Alice James Books, Farmington. 2011).