Press Release

USM student wins Best New Sci-Fi/Fantasy Writer award

 PORTLAND, Maine – A University of Southern Maine graduate student with the Stonecoast Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program has been awarded a prestigious literary award for new writers.

Mur Lafferty of Durham, N.C., a USM graduate student studying popular fiction, has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.        

The award, sponsored by Dell Magazines, publisher of “Analog Science Fiction & Fact” magazine, was presented last month during the 2013 Hugo Awards to the best new professional science-fiction or fantasy writer of 2011 or 2012. It is given to the best new science fiction or fantasy writer whose first work of science fiction or fantasy was published in a professional publication in the previous two years. 

It was the second nomination for Lafferty, who was selected this year out of more than 476 nominees. The Campbell award, named after an influential science fiction writer and editor, is administered along with the Hugo Awards and was presented during the World Science Fiction Convention (LoneStarCon3) in San Antonio, Texas.

“The Campbell is an award where it truly is an honor to be nominated, because it’s amazing to be in a group of five considered the most promising new writers to the field,” Lafferty said. “I’m honored and humbled and thrilled and honestly a little gun-shy. It’s intimidating thinking that people are watching me now, waiting to see if I produce Campbell-worthy work.”

The Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing, under the USM College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, offers a comprehensive, yet individualized, two-year graduate education in the art of creative writing. Students take part each semester in a 10-day residency at USM’s Stone House in Freeport on the coast of Maine’s Casco Bay.  

Lafferty is an author, podcaster and editor, whose first professionally published book, “The Shambling Guide to New York City,” is now in bookstores. Lafferty’s qualifying work for the award was a story, “1963: The Argument Against Louis Pasteur” published in the book, “The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities,” published by Harper Voyager, 2011.        

For a full list of writing-award winners go to:



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