Skip to Main Content
Idaho State University home

Susan Swetnam, Professor Emerita in English, Wins Major Book Award

August 6, 2020

Dr. Susan Swetnam, ISU English Department Professor Emerita, has won a 2020 National Catholic Book Award for her ninth book, "In the Mystery's Shadow: Reflections on Caring for the Elderly and Dying" (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2019). The work blends research, personal narrative based on Susan's "second act" retirement career as a hospice massage therapist, and interviews to demonstrate how this challenging vocation offers not just the fulfillment of comforting others, but also moments of breathtaking wonder and connection. One reviewer termed it "a masterful job of weaving together art, music, literature, theology and personal experience." Sponsored by the National Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, the awards recognize excellence in writing/publishing for general audiences.
Swetnam's next book, on knitting and spirituality, is currently in press and expected to be published this fall by ACTA Publications, Chicago, in time for Christmas gift sales.  She is currently working on her tenth, the first of a three-book contract with Liturgical Press, which offers reflections for the Easter season, 2022 (books of reflections for Lent 2023 and Advent 2024 will follow).
Swetnam'sSusan Swetnam, Professor Emerita in English, Wins Major Book Award most recent books are available from Liturgical Press ( and other booksellers.


University News