Lawson to receive SC Humanities Award

July 19, 2022

Dr. Len Lawson, assistant professor of English at Newberry College, has been named a recipient of the 2022 Fresh Voices in the Humanities Award. The prestigious award is given by South Carolina Humanities, the state humanities council.

The award recognizes “individuals who are working in unique and innovative ways to use culture and history to bring people together, but whose efforts may have gone relatively unnoticed beyond their own community.”

Lawson is the author of “Chime” (Get Fresh Books, 2019) and “Before the Night Wakes You” (Finishing Line Press, 2017). He has also edited two poetry collections, “Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race” (Muddy Ford Press, 2017) and “The Future of Black: Afrofuturism, Black Comics, and Superhero Poetry” (Blair Press, 2021).

Lawson currently serves on the board of directors for the Jasper Project, a Columbia-area nonprofit that promotes and celebrates local artists in all disciplines. Some of the organization’s projects include pop-up art shows, writer readings and a quarterly arts magazine.

Lawson has been honored with the 2016 Jasper Project Artist of the Year Award in Literary Arts; the inaugural 2018 NC Poetry Society Susan Laughter Meyers Fellowship in Poetry; and the 2020 SC Academy of Authors Carrie McCrary Nickens Fellowship in Poetry, among others.

“I have had a love for the humanities since I was very young,” said Lawson. “I was a voracious reader and even a writer when I felt the confidence. When I decided to make the humanities and creative writing my career, it opened many doors for me and fulfilled my lifelong passion. This award proves that I made good decisions on those early life choices and motivates me to continue my work in this rewarding field.”

Lawson joined the Newberry College faculty in 2021. He earned a Ph.D. in English literature and criticism from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania; a master’s from National University; and a bachelor’s degree from Winthrop University.

Lawson will receive the Fresh Voices in the Humanities Award on Oct. 20 in an awards luncheon at the Pastides Alumni Center at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

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About Newberry College

Newberry College is a private, residential, co-educational institution with a diverse student population. Founded in 1856 by the Lutheran Church, Newberry College continues to be ranked among the South’s best colleges by U.S. News & World Report, consistently honored for value (No. 4), social mobility (No. 7) and overall best (No. 11). Offering baccalaureate degrees in 37 majors, one online graduate program, four online degree-completion programs and five dual-degree programs, the College’s foundation remains grounded in the liberal arts. In addition, the College offers 22 NCAA Division II sports, cheerleading, dance and esports. Newberry College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and the National Association of Schools of Music. For more information, visit