Cape High English teacher awarded writing fellowship

Michael Kardos named Established Fellow in Literature by Delaware Division of the Arts
January 29, 2024

Delaware Division of the Arts recognized Cape High English instructor Michael Kardos, PhD, as a 2024 Established Fellow in Literature, awarding him an $8,000 grant to help further his work in fiction.

Kardos is among 20 Delaware artists being recognized by the division for high-quality work in the arts. The division received samples from 149 Delaware musicians, writers, and folk, media, and visual artists that were reviewed by out-of-state arts professionals on demonstrated creativity and skill in each artist’s respective art form. 

Artists were awarded fellowships in Masters, Established and Emerging categories, and four applicants received honorable mentions. 

As part of the fellowship, Kardos is required to offer at least one exhibit or performance during the upcoming year, providing an opportunity for the public to experience his work.

Kardos was named an Established Fellow because he is already a published author. His short stories have appeared in One Story, The Southern Review and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and have won two Pushcart Prizes. 

His novels include “Bluff,” “Before He Finds Her” and “The Three-Day Affair,” along with the story collection “One Last Good Time” and the textbook “The Art and Craft of Fiction: A Writer’s Guide.” 

For the fellowship consideration, Kardos said he submitted a new, mystery short story set at the turn of the 20th century featuring a quick-change artist, or magician, whose acts were very popular during the end of the vaudeville era.

The whodunit revolves around a tragic death in a theater, Kardos said, and is a loose imaging of the actual career of The Great Lafayette, an illusionist who was at one time bigger than Houdini.

The story will appear in an upcoming issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Kardos said.

Kardos said he is thinking of using his fellowship award to fund a stay out West, where he may hole up this summer to concentrate on writing with a friend. He’s currently working on a new novel and a children’s book.

His wife Catherine Pierce is the current Poet Laureate of Mississippi, a term she will hold until the end of 2025. The couple met at grad school at Ohio State before moving together to Missouri State to earn their PhDs. Kardos spent 16 years teaching English and creative writing at Mississippi State University.

With Pierce originally from Rehoboth, the couple, who now have a seventh- and a fourth-grader in district schools, summered at the beach for years before making the permanent move.

Kardos taught remotely for Mississippi State until the end of the last school year. Now in his first year at Cape, Kardos said the adjustment from college to high school students calls for a more structured environment but was not as difficult a transition as he thought it would be.

Kardos’s books can be found or ordered through Browseabout Books and at any online bookstore. For more information about Kardos and his work, go to

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