Shane Book

Shane Book
Associate Professor
Office: FIA 231

BA (Western), BA (UVic), MA (NYU), MFA (Temple), MFA (Iowa), Stegner Fellow (Stanford)

Area of expertise

Poetry, filmmaking, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, film/literature/visual art/music/dance of the African diaspora, poetics, philosophy, hip hop culture, and more.


Shane grew up in Canada and Ghana. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, an MA in English and American Literature from New York University, an MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

Before joining the Department of Writing in the fall of 2017, he was the 2016-2017 Writer-in-Residence for the University of Calgary’s Distinguished Writers Program. From 2015 to 2016, he lived in Nashville, Tennessee and taught in the MFA Program at Western Kentucky University, in Bowling Green. He has also lived in Ottawa, Philadelphia, Brazil, San Francisco, Lynchburg, Santa Cruz, the Shenandoah Mountains, Iowa City, New York City, Victoria, London, Vancouver, Lima and Accra.

Along the way he has worked as a rickshaw runner, federal government policy analyst, line cook, high school teacher, communications consultant, grocery clerk, database designer, cultural educator, gas station attendant, purveyor of fine men’s clothing, demolition worker, feature film script supervisor, landscaper, tour guide, and entrepreneur – not necessarily in that order. He has also taught at the University of California Berkeley, Temple University, the University of Iowa, New York University, and Stanford University and served as Writer-in-Residence on two other occasions: at Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Virginia and in the MFA Program at Saint Mary’s College of California.

Selected professional & creative achievements

His first volume of poetry, Ceiling of Sticks (University of Nebraska Press, 2010) won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award and was a Poetry Society of America “New Poet” Selection. Excerpts from Ceiling of Sticks received The Malahat Review Long Poem Prize and a National Magazine Award.

His second collection, Congotronic (USA: University of Iowa Press/ Canada: House of Anansi Press, 2014) won the Archibald Lampman Award, was a Kuhl House Poets Series Selection and was a finalist for the Canadian Authors Association Award, Ottawa Book Award, and Griffin Prize for Excellence in Poetry. Congotronic was a Poets and Writers Magazine “New and Noteworthy Book of 2014.” Excerpts from Congotronic were shortlisted for the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Faye Di Castagnola Award and included in The Best American Experimental Writing 2015.

His writing has been translated into Italian and Chinese, appears in many magazines in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, and has been reprinted in more than twenty anthologies, including Breathing Fire 2: Canada’s New Poets, Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levineand The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian PoetryHe has read his poetry and given talks at venues around the globe.

His first short film, Dust (2013), screened at twenty-three film festivals worldwide, including the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, Santa Cruz Film Festival and Hollywood Black Film Festival. The recipient of many festival jury prizes, Dust also played at universities and high schools across North America and on television in Jamaica, Trinidad and the U.S. His second film, Praise and Blamewill be released in 2017.

His other honors include a New York Times Fellowship, an Iowa Writers’ Workshop Teaching-Writing Fellowship; fellowships to the Telluride Film Festival, Cave Canem, Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, the Flaherty Film Seminar, the MacDowell Artists’ Colony, Brazil’s Sacatar Foundation, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference and the Breadloaf Writers Conference; grants from the Canada Council, Chalmers Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and Ford Foundation; an Academy of American Poets Prize; Southern Illinois University’s Charles Johnson Prize; a San Francisco State University Poetry Center Award; and a teaching award from New York University. 

Selected Publications