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Spouses Kevin Haworth, assistant professor of English, and Rabbi Danielle Leshaw, were awarded $5,000 each for Individual Excellence Awards.

Photographer: Ben Siegel

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Both already planned how they’ll spend their winnings.

Photographer: Ben Siegel

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Only eight Ohio Arts Council Awards are given out statewide.

Photographer: Ben Siegel

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Athens couple receives Ohio Arts Council Awards


Two distinguished members of the Athens community received Ohio Arts Council Awards for their prose in fiction and nonfiction.

Spouses Kevin Haworth, assistant professor of English, and Rabbi Danielle Leshaw, were awarded $5,000 each for Individual Excellence Awards. They were two of eight finalists to earn the statewide grant.

Haworth’s grant was for his essay collection, Famous Drownings in Literary History, which focuses on the human relationship with water.

“I always had a kind of fascination with water. I love it and I also find it frightening,” said Haworth. “The essay collection is very different in subject matter and in style. It’s nonfiction. It focuses a lot on my experience of being a parent of young children in southeast Ohio and it’s very much about the landscape and culture here.”

Leshaw’s novel, Paradise Exploding, takes place in Israel and southeast Ohio. With more than five years of work put into it, Leshaw explained that the book is mostly finished with “100 pages are really well assembled, and then additional pages, 150 more pages approximately, are in stages of formation and editing.”

Both already planned how they’ll spend their winnings. Haworth’s grant will go towards traveling and reading.

“That [traveling and reading] is really helpful in terms of continuing to work on the pieces, reading them out loud, hearing them, seeing what audiences respond to, all of that is a really important part of the process if you can afford to do it,” he said.

Instead of compiling more research, Leshaw’s grant money is going toward finding someone other than her husband to fine-tune her work.

“I actually just today [April 17], made final arrangements with an editor to work with,” she said. “I’m really excited to send her pages and develop a relationship and hopefully by the end of the summer have a polished manuscript that I feel comfortable with.”

For Leshaw, the editing process was essential in her ability to win the grant.

“It’s about submitting your best 20 pages,” she said. “So much of last summer actually was spent on really, really heavy, intense editing on the first 20 pages of the book, and focusing entirely on those pages to make sure they were the best they could possibly be and it worked. It was a good strategy.”