posted May 8, 2011

Heather Sellers Presented H.O.P.E. Award

Dr. Heather Sellers of the Hope College English faculty has been presented the 47th “Hope Outstanding Professor Educator” (H.O.P.E.) Award by the graduating Class of 2011.

She was named the recipient during the college’s Commencement ceremony, held at Holland Municipal Stadium on Sunday, May 8.

The award, first given in 1965, is presented by the graduating class to the professor who they feel epitomizes the best qualities of the Hope College educator.

Sellers has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1995. A professor of English, she teaches poetry, fiction and creative non fiction.

She was born and raised in Orlando, Fla. Her doctorate in English/creative writing is from Florida State University, from which she also holds her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Her most recent book is “You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face Blindness, and Forgiveness,” a memoir published in October by Riverhead Books. The memoir, which reflects on her experience with a highly unusual neurological condition known as face blindness, or prosopagnosia, has been highlighted in publications ranging from the “New York Times,” to “Psychology Today,” “Elle,” “People” and “O,” the Oprah Magazine, where it was a book of the month pick. Since the book’s release, she has been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “Rachel Ray,” among others.

“You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know” was named a 2011 Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan in December, for which an awards ceremony was held in Lansing on Saturday, May 7, and received a 2011 “Adult Literature Award” from the Chicago, Ill.-based Friends of American Writers in April.

Sellers is the author of three volumes of poetry: “The Boys I Borrow,” “Drinking Girls and Their Dresses” and the chapbook “Your Whole Life.” Her fiction includes “Georgia Under Water,” a collection of short fiction; and, with Amy Young as illustrator, the children’s book “Spike and Cubby: Ice Cream Island Adventure!” Her books also include two guides for writers, “Page after Page: Discover the confidence and passion you need to start writing and keep writing (no matter what)” and “Chapter after Chapter: Discover the Dedication and Focus You Need to Write the Book of Your Dreams”; and a textbook, “The Practice of Creative Writing: A Guide for Students.”

Nearly 50 of her poems have appeared in journals, anthologies and magazines, including “Louisiana Literature,” “Ascent,” “The New Virginia Review,” “GulfCoast,” “Hawai’i Review,” “Barrow Street,” “The MidWest Quarterly” and “So To Speak.”
Her short fiction, memoir and creative nonfiction appear in journals, other anthologies and magazines, including “The Best Stories of the New South”; “Falling Backwards: stories of fathers and daughters”; “O, The Oprah Magazine”; “Good Housekeeping”; and “The Huffington Post.”

Her short story “Hunting” from “The Chattahoochee Review” was listed in the “100 Distinguished Stories of 1991” section of the “Best American Short Stories.” Recent prose has appeared in “The Sun,” “The Madison Review,” “The Southeast Review,” “The Writer,” “Writer’s Digest,” “Beloit Fiction Journal,” “Five Points” and “The Massachusetts Review.”

Sellers was one of only 41 writers nationally to receive a National Endowment for the Arts grant for 2000-02 to create original work or translate work, through which she completed “Georgia Under Water.” “Georgia Under Water” was named a finalist in the 2002 “Paterson Fiction Prize” competition and in 2001 was recognized in the “Discover Great New Writers” program of Barnes & Noble bookstores.