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When Misha Rai was a teenager, at an all-girls boarding school in India, she and her friends would secretly smuggle and read romance novels despite them being banned by the nuns. A combination of her clandestine love for this type of writing and her other literary obsession, detective novels, resulted in a very odd early ambition.

Cocoa Williams, a Ph.D. student in the English department at Florida State University, is a 2016 recipient of the Philanthropic Education Organization Scholar Award, a $15,000 merit-based honor for women pursuing doctoral degrees.

Would-be writers learn early on that being successful is half luck and half skill, author and Florida State PhD student Brandi George says, adding that it is essential for writers to learn how to deal with and ignore rejection as well.

Deborah Solomon, who in May 2015 earned her doctorate degree from Florida State University in English literature, has been awarded a 2015 National Endowment for the Humanities year-long fellowship.

Department of English alumnus Adam Johnson has added a National Book Award to his list of literary accolades.

Professor Erin Belieu never expected to win awards for her work with the organization she helped create, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Her goal during VIDA's summer 2009 genesis, an objective that co-founders Cate Marvin and Ann Townsend shared with Belieu, was to address and challenge gender bias in publishing.