In the publishing world, it can seem like there’s room for those who have made it, and those who are about to make it. There’s established and there’s emerging. At the beginning of this year, we set out to make a contest for everyone else: for determined, engaged, and talented writers who nonetheless felt themselves sinking, flailing, beaten down, out of luck, exhausted, or held back.
On March 1st, The Submerging Writer Fellowship opened for submissions from writers who had no book published, had won no awards, and were not currently in a writing program. We asked writers to send us, along with a ten page writing sample, a series of brief essays about their writing life. Applicants listed rejections, detailed mistakes, shared about their role in the literary community, and explained their hopes. From March to September, we received over three hundred submissions.
We’re pleased to announce the winner, finalists, and semi-finalists for 2017:
2017 Submerging Writer Fellowship Winner: Angelica Maria Barraza
Angelica Maria Barraza is a writer, bruja, interventionist, lover. She is interested in narrative as a site for transgression and possibility. Questions that propel her creative process include: How does one enact profanation upon a text? How might storytelling be an act of reclamation? Of refusal? She holds an MFA from Naropa University and recently relocated to California to pursue a PhD in literature at UC Riverside.
Angelica will receive a $500 stipend, $500 for travel/lodging at AWP 2018, and a chapbook publication with Fear No Lit. Join us on March 8, 2017 for the Submerging Writer Fellowship Book Launch Party, where Angelica and our finalists will share their work.
Praise from 2017 judge Jennifer Givhan:
2017 Submerging Writer Fellowship Finalists
- Katie Burgess – Katie Burgess lives in South Carolina, where she does improv and is editor of Emrys Journal.
- Melissa Dias-Mandoly – Melissa Dias-Mandoly lives in Pittsburgh with her cat, Catrick Bateman. She earned her BA in poetry and film at the University of Pittsburgh, where she twice won the undergraduate poetry award. Her work has been featured in Nat. Brut, Gesture, Hot Metal Bridge, PANK, Storm Cellar, and more. In 2017, she was a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. She works as an editor and designer at the University of Pittsburgh Press.
- Verna Zafra-Kasala – Verna Zafra-Kasala was born in the Philippines but was raised and still lives in the Pacific island of Guam. She is an instructor at the University of Guam. Her work has appeared in Tayo Literary Magazine, Hawai’i Review, and Minerva Rising, among other publications.