A round of applause for Class of 2013 Poetry MFA Alum and our program's own Assistant Director Airea D. Matthews— who is having quite the year, having just received the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize in February!!—for the recognition of her work by the Rona Jaffe Foundation in the form of a $30,000 Writers' Award.
Six emerging women writers are singled out for excellence by the Rona Jaffe Foundation each year. This year's other winners are Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas, Danielle Geller, Jamey Hatley, Ladee Hubbard, and Asako Serizawa. The program – the only national literary awards program of its kind devoted exclusively to women – was created by celebrated novelist Rona Jaffe to identify and support women writers of unusual talent and promise in the early stages of their writing careers. Ms. Jaffe passed away in 2005.
The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards are given to writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Since the program began in 1995, the Foundation has awarded over $2 million to emergent women writers. Past recipients of the Writers’ Awards, such as Rachel Aviv, Elif Batuman, Eula Biss, Sarah Braunstein, Lan Samantha Chang, Rivka Galchen, Aryn Kyle, ZZ Packer, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Namwali Serpell, Tracy K. Smith, Mary Syzbist, and Tiphanie Yanique have since received wider critical recognition, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, the Caine Prize for African Writing, and the Whiting Writer’s Award.
On Friday, September 16 at 7 p.m. the winners will read in New York University’s Creative Writing Program Reading Series at the Vernon Writers House (58 West 10th Street).