Kelly Cherry is Professor Emerita at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has published seventeen books of fiction (novels, short stories), poetry, and nonfiction (memoir, essay, criticism), eight chapbooks, and translations of two classical plays. Two more book are forthcoming this year (2009): The Retreats of Thought: Poems and Girl in a Library: On Women Writers and the Writing Life. Her short fiction has been reprinted in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, and New Stories from the South, and has won three PEN/Syndicated Fiction Awards. In 2000 her collection The Society of Friends: Stories, received the Dictionary of Literary Biography Award for the best volume of short stories published in 1999. She was the first recipient of the Hanes Poetry Prize for a body of work from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and her collection Hazard and Prospect: New and Selected Poems was a finalist for The Poets’ Prize. Her work in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction has been published in nearly two hundred anthologies, and she has published about two hundred reviews. Recently invited to serve as an Elector of The Poets’ Corner at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine for a term of five years, she also recently received a Rockefeller Foundation grant to work on a poetry manuscript in progress.
At UW-Madison she was Eudora Welty Professor of English and Evjue-Bascom Professor in the Humanities. She retired in 1999, after twenty-two years (twenty-three in Madison), and in retirement continues to hold those titles while also holding named chairs and distinguished writer positions at the University of Alabama Huntsville, Colgate University, Mercer University, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Hollins University. She continues to give readings widely. She and her husband, Burke Davis III, live on a small farm in Virginia.