Nicole Tong, MFA ’07 ARTSFAIRFAX, Fairfax County’s designated local arts agency, has named Nicole Tong, MFA ’07, Fairfax’s first poet laureate, the county’s highest honor awarded to a local poet.
Tong is a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College, where she serves as NOVA’s college coordinator for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. She has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Mason. In 2016, she served as the inaugural writer-in-residence at the PopeLeighey House, a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Alexandria, Virginia. She has been widely published in poetry journals and reviews, and the Washington Post’s publishing house selected her first collection of poems, How to Prove a Theory, for its 2017 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize winner. Her Twitter project, @poetryliveshere, aims to raise awareness of the work of living poets.
While at Mason, Tong received the Creative Writing Program’s Thesis Fellowship and the Outstanding Poetry Student Award for her graduating year. Following her graduation, she directed the Reading and Writing Center at NOVA for several years before becoming a full-time faculty member in English. Rion Amilcar Scott, MFA ’08 Those who have been to Cross River know that you can’t get there by traditional means of transportation like plane, train, or automobile. To visit that historic town in Maryland, you’ll have to peer between the pages of the short story collections of Mason alumnus Rion Amilcar Scott, author of the prizewinning Insurrections and the recently released The World Doesn’t Require You—the latter of which has already received much praise from such outlets as the New York Times, Southern Living, and Kirkus Reviews.
According to Linda Sullivan, ARTSFAIRFAX president and CEO, the poet laureate program is designed to highlight talented poets in the Fairfax community as well as to bring poetry into the daily lives of county residents. Tong’s selection as poet laureate was based upon a competitive process where she was selected by a distinguished panel of judges. Her work may be seen at her website, nicoletong.com.
Published fall 2020