Purpura is writer-in-residence and affiliate associate professor of writing at Loyola University Maryland. Among her recent books of poems and essays are: "Rough Likeness," "King Baby" and "On Looking," which was a finalist for ther National Book Critics Circle Award.
Purpura's award, in the general non-fiction category, will help her write a book of essays exploring "the ways people relate to and form relationships with the natural world," according to a news release from the university.
“It is a thrill to be recognized at this level by such a prestigious organization and the readers and writers who evaluated my work,” she said in a statement from the university. “You’re up against a tremendous number of the most talented people in your field.”