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Texas Institute of Letters inducts Cassells, Sansom from Texas State

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Jayme Blaschke | February 18, 2020

cassells headshot
Poet Cyrus Cassells, a professor in the Department of English

Poet Cyrus Cassells, a professor in the Department of English at Texas State University, and environmental writer and editor Andrew Sansom, professor of practice in the Department of Geography and former director of The Meadows Center at Texas State, are among the inductees to the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) for 2020. 

TIL members overwhelmingly approved 19 writers to join the ranks of the TIL. The TIL was founded in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and to recognize distinctive literary achievement. 

The TIL’s membership consists of the state’s most respected writers – including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, PEN/Faulkner Award, Academy Award, Americas Award, International Latino Book Award and the MacArthur “Genius” grant. Membership is based on ongoing and exceptional literary accomplishment. 

Cassells, a 2019 Guggenheim fellow, won the National Poetry Series, a Lambda Literary Award, a Lannan Literary Award, the William Carlos Williams Award and two Pushcart Prizes. His 2018 volume The Gospel according to Wild Indigo was a finalist for the Balcones Prize, the NAACP Image Award, and the Texas Institute of Letters Helen C. Smith Award. The author of six books of poetry, Cassells teaches in Texas State’s MFA program in creative writing.

sansom headshot
Andrew Sansom, professor of practice in the Department of Geography

Sansom is the author of eight books and series editor of 23 books on Texas, including the “River Series” books published by Texas A&M University Press. He is former executive director of both Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas Nature Conservancy, and founder of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. His published works have appeared in Texas Monthly, Texas Observer, Houston City Magazine, Politics Today, Texas Highways, Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine and Texas Town and City.

“The move to diversify and include a wide variety of literary genres in our analysis of literary accomplishment has continued to bring us a rich base of outstanding word-crafters,” said Carmen Tafolla, president of the TIL. “We are extremely proud of the exceptional work these individuals represent.”

New members will be inducted at the upcoming TIL annual meeting, to be held March 27-29 in Georgetown. The Annual TIL Literary Awards will also be presented at the weekend’s events. For more information, visit the TIL website at www.texasinstituteofletters.org or email Tafolla at president@texasinstituteofletters.org.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922