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Sister Mariella Gable Series

2015 Winner: On Immunity: An Inoculation, by Eula Biss



On Immunity addresses a number of fears that are often considered chronic when it comes to raising children: fear of the government, the medical establishment, what is in a child’s air, food, mattress, medicine, and vaccines.  In the end, author Eula Biss finds that it is impossible to immunize your child, or yourself, from the world.  On Immunity has received a number of honors, including being named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a Publishers Weekly PW Pick of the Week.  It was also a finalist for the 2015 Midwest Booksellers Choice Award and an Indies Choice Book Awards honoree. 

Eula Biss is also the author of Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays and The Balloonists.  She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, and NEA Literature Fellowship, and a Jaffe Writers’ Award.  Biss’ essays have been published in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Nonfiction, The Believer, Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, Third Coast, and Harper’s.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in nonfiction writing from Hampshire College and her Master’s degree in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa.

Learn more about Past Winners

Includes titles by Claudia Rankine, Ru Freeman, Deborah Baker, Binyavanga Wainaina, Tiphanie Yanique, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Linda Gregg, Tracy K. Smith, Nurruddin Farah, Jane Kenyon, Clint McCown, Joe Coomer, Judith Kitchen, and Victoria Redel.


About the Award

Sister Mariella Gable's spirit inspires the College of Saint Benedict Literary Arts Institute serving the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University (LAI) and all of its programs. Dante scholar, poet, editor, writer, and champion of new fiction, the late Sister Mariella Gable was an outstanding English professor who taught at the College of Saint Benedict from 1928-1973. In the Spring of 1984, she produced an essay on the first fifty years of CSB history, "In League with the Future".

She guided many students into lives informed by literature and played an important role in the early careers of such writers as Flannery O'Connor, Betty Wahl, and J.F. Powers. An essay about Sister Mariella and her writings was written by Sister Nancy Hynes for the introduction to Mariella's book, The Literature of Spiritual Values and Catholic Fiction.

The Sister Mariella Gable Award is given each year by the College of Saint Benedict for an important work of literature published by Graywolf Press. Graywolf Press, described by Ploughshares magazine as, "arguably the best small press in the country," and LAI have formed an innovative collaboration to explore new ways of promoting the literary arts on campus, to audiences in the surrounding area, and in the Twin Cities.