Last week, at a private reception in New York City, the Rona Jaffe Foundation honored six emerging women authors in the fifteenth annual presentation of its Writers’ Awards. Some of this year’s winners have been published already—Vievee Francis and Janice N. Harrington each have a collection of poetry out, and Lori Ostlund‘s short story collection, The Bigness of the World, also won last year’s Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. All of the writers, however, will be using the $25,000 prizes to free up the time to focus on their next projects, whether it’s a matter of not having to teach or being able to travel for research. The foundation, dedicated exclusively to championing women writers at the beginning of their literary careers, has disbursed more than $1,000,000 in these prizes since it was founded by Jaffe in 1995.
Guest speaker Elizabeth Alexander (front row, center), the poet for President Barack Obama‘s inauguration, joined Krista Bremer and Heidy Steidlmayer, along with (back row, l-r) Harrington, Helen Phillips, Francis, and Ostlund for a photo after the reception. (credit: Star Black)