Michelle Ephraim Awarded the 2023 Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction

Michelle Ephraim, a professor of English at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, has been awarded the 2023 Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction from the University of Massachusetts Press. Professor Ephraim was honored for her book GREEN WORLD: A Tragicomic Memoir of Love and Shakespeare. The book will be published in 2024.

“GREEN WORLD is so personal to me, and also my first book-length work in this genre,” said Professor Ephraim, “I am thrilled it resonated with the judges.”

The idea for GREEN WORLD began with an essay Professor Ephraim wrote for the Washington Post about how only after her own father died could she appreciate Shakespeare’s ability to capture the timeless shock of losing a parent. The essay, “Father’s Day with Shakespeare,” drew an overwhelming response and was reprinted in newspapers all over the world.

“I received hundreds of personal emails,” Professor Ephraim said after the essay appeared, “from teachers and professors, writers, theater geeks, and from casual Shakespeare fans who had read a play or two in school, seen a performance, or had a favorite play or character. Even from people who described themselves as having little to no familiarity with Shakespeare but who loved how my story made Shakespeare accessible by connecting his work to a universal human experience: grief.”

Dr. Ephraim is a graduate of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where she majored in history and English. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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