Nikky Finney will join the faculty at the University of South Carolina this fall as the John H. Bennett Jr. Chair of Southern Literature and Creative Writing. She has been on the faculty at the University of Kentucky since 1991 and recently was named the Guy Davenport Endowed Professor of English. Professor Finney’s collection of poetry, Head Off and Split, was the winner of the 2011 National Book Award.
In announcing her appointment, Professor Finney said, “I’m not ‘on the ground’ in Columbia just yet, but from my intimate vantage point, being a daughter of South Carolina, the flagship university named after the state seems to be charging forward into the bright lights of the future, positioning an impressive array of administrators and hiring amazing faculty and staff.
“I see a new human geography taking shape all across the state; smart dedicated thinkers and doers reshaping the land of my birth. The University of South Carolina has offered me the chance to come home and lend my shoulder to this great intellectual grindstone. I have accepted, and the honor to see what can be made and nurtured for the future of our state and country is all mine.”
Professor Finney is a graduate of Talladega College and studied African American literature at Atlanta University.