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Here Are The Winners Of The 2018 Whiting Awards

This year's recipients include Esmé Wang, Patty Yumi Cottrell, Tommy Pico, and Weike Wang.

Posted on March 21, 2018, at 7:31 p.m. ET

The Whiting Foundation

The Whiting Awards are given every year (since 1985) to 10 emerging writers, who each receive $50,000.

Previous recipients include Tracy K. Smith (2005), Daniel Alarcón (2004), and Colson Whitehead (2000).

This year's winners were revealed at a ceremony March 21 following a keynote speech by Toni Morrison. And here they are:

The Whiting Foundation

Patty Yumi Cottrell, for Fiction

"Patty Yumi Cottrell was born in Korea and raised in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Milwaukee. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Guernica, BOMB, Gulf Coast, and others. She lives in Brooklyn. Sorry to Disrupt the Peace is her first novel, long-listed for the Times Literary Supplement’s Republic of Consciousness Prize and the winner of the Best First Book – Fiction 2017 National Medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards."Here is an excerpt from Cottrell's debut novel, Sorry to Disrupt the Peace.
Meiko Takechi Arquillos

"Patty Yumi Cottrell was born in Korea and raised in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Milwaukee. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Guernica, BOMB, Gulf Coast, and others. She lives in Brooklyn. Sorry to Disrupt the Peace is her first novel, long-listed for the Times Literary Supplement’s Republic of Consciousness Prize and the winner of the Best First Book – Fiction 2017 National Medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards."

Here is an excerpt from Cottrell's debut novel, Sorry to Disrupt the Peace.

Brontez Purnell, for Fiction

"Brontez Purnell is a zinester, writer, dancer, and musician who lives in Oakland, California. He is originally from Triana, Alabama. Brontez has written for various publications, including the online edition of Jigsaw, San Francisco Weekly, and Maximum Rock & Roll."
Matt Hunt

"Brontez Purnell is a zinester, writer, dancer, and musician who lives in Oakland, California. He is originally from Triana, Alabama. Brontez has written for various publications, including the online edition of Jigsaw, San Francisco Weekly, and Maximum Rock & Roll."

Weike Wang, for Fiction

"Weike Wang is the author of the novel Chemistry (Knopf, 2017), and her short fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, the Alaska Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and others. Wang is a finalist for the 2018 Aspen Words Literary Prize and a 5 Under 35 National Book Foundation honoree. She holds a BA from Harvard University, an SM and SD from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and an MFA in Fiction from Boston University. She lives in New York City."
Shang Saavedra

"Weike Wang is the author of the novel Chemistry (Knopf, 2017), and her short fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, the Alaska Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and others. Wang is a finalist for the 2018 Aspen Words Literary Prize and a 5 Under 35 National Book Foundation honoree. She holds a BA from Harvard University, an SM and SD from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and an MFA in Fiction from Boston University. She lives in New York City."

Esmé Weijun Wang, for Nonfiction

"Esmé Weijun Wang is the author of The Border of Paradise: A Novel, named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2016, and is the recipient of the 2016 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize for her forthcoming essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias. Her essays and stories have appeared in Catapult, Elle, and the Believer, among others. She was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists in 2017, and is a recipient of the Hopwood Award for Novel-in-Progress, the Louis Sudler Award for Creative Writing from Stanford University, and a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in San Francisco."Here is an essay by Wang on BuzzFeed Reader.
Kristin Cofer

"Esmé Weijun Wang is the author of The Border of Paradise: A Novel, named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2016, and is the recipient of the 2016 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize for her forthcoming essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias. Her essays and stories have appeared in Catapult, Elle, and the Believer, among others. She was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists in 2017, and is a recipient of the Hopwood Award for Novel-in-Progress, the Louis Sudler Award for Creative Writing from Stanford University, and a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in San Francisco."

Here is an essay by Wang on BuzzFeed Reader.

Anne Boyer, for Poetry and Nonfiction

"Anne Boyer is a poet and essayist. Her books include The Romance of Happy Workers (Coffee House Press, 2006); My Common Heart (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2011); Garments Against Women (Ahsahta Press, 2015), which won the 2016 CLMP Firecracker award; and A Handbook of Disappointed Fate (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018). Her memoir The Undying is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2019. With Guillermo Parra and Cassandra Gillig, she has translated the work of 20th century Venezuelan poets Victor Valera Mora, Miguel James, and Miyo Vestrini. With K. Silem Mohammad, she was a founding editor of the poetry journal Abraham Lincoln. Her essays have appeared in Guernica, the New Inquiry, Fullstop, and others. She is the recipient of the 2018 Cy Twombly Award for Poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Art. Boyer was born in Kansas and is a professor at the Kansas City Art Institute. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri."
Cassandra Gillig

"Anne Boyer is a poet and essayist. Her books include The Romance of Happy Workers (Coffee House Press, 2006); My Common Heart (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2011); Garments Against Women (Ahsahta Press, 2015), which won the 2016 CLMP Firecracker award; and A Handbook of Disappointed Fate (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018). Her memoir The Undying is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2019. With Guillermo Parra and Cassandra Gillig, she has translated the work of 20th century Venezuelan poets Victor Valera Mora, Miguel James, and Miyo Vestrini. With K. Silem Mohammad, she was a founding editor of the poetry journal Abraham Lincoln. Her essays have appeared in Guernica, the New Inquiry, Fullstop, and others. She is the recipient of the 2018 Cy Twombly Award for Poetry from the Foundation for Contemporary Art. Boyer was born in Kansas and is a professor at the Kansas City Art Institute. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri."

Rickey Laurentiis, for Poetry

"Rickey Laurentiis was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Boy With Thorn, his debut book, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the Levis Reading Prize, and was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His other honors include fellowships from the Lannan Literary Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation. Currently he lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he is the inaugural Fellow in Creative Writing at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh."
Shikeith Cathey

"Rickey Laurentiis was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Boy With Thorn, his debut book, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the Levis Reading Prize, and was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His other honors include fellowships from the Lannan Literary Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation. Currently he lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he is the inaugural Fellow in Creative Writing at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh."

Tommy Pico, for Poetry

"Tommy Pico is author of the books IRL (Birds, LLC, 2016), Nature Poem (Tin House Books, 2017), and Junk (forthcoming 2018 from Tin House Books). He was a Queer/Art/Mentors inaugural fellow, 2013 Lambda Literary fellow in poetry, 2016 Tin House summer poetry scholar, 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and won the Brooklyn Public Library’s 2017 Literature Prize. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Brooklyn where he co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub."
Niqui Carter

"Tommy Pico is author of the books IRL (Birds, LLC, 2016), Nature Poem (Tin House Books, 2017), and Junk (forthcoming 2018 from Tin House Books). He was a Queer/Art/Mentors inaugural fellow, 2013 Lambda Literary fellow in poetry, 2016 Tin House summer poetry scholar, 2017 NYSCA/NYFA Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and won the Brooklyn Public Library’s 2017 Literature Prize. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Brooklyn where he co-curates the reading series Poets With Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary Hub."

Nathan Alan Davis, for Drama

"Nathan Alan Davis is a playwright from Rockford, Illinois, now living in New York. His produced plays include Nat Turner in Jerusalem (NYTW, 2016; New York Magazine Critic’s Pick), Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea (NNPN Rolling World Premiere, 2015; Los Angeles Times Critic’s Choice; Steinberg/ATCA New Play Citation), and The Wind and the Breeze (Cygnet Theatre, San Diego, forthcoming in 2018). Nathan is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, a Lecturer in Theater at Princeton University, and a 2016 graduate of Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program. He received his MFA from Indiana University and BFA from the University of Illinois."
Elizabeth Q. Davis

"Nathan Alan Davis is a playwright from Rockford, Illinois, now living in New York. His produced plays include Nat Turner in Jerusalem (NYTW, 2016; New York Magazine Critic’s Pick), Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea (NNPN Rolling World Premiere, 2015; Los Angeles Times Critic’s Choice; Steinberg/ATCA New Play Citation), and The Wind and the Breeze (Cygnet Theatre, San Diego, forthcoming in 2018). Nathan is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, a Lecturer in Theater at Princeton University, and a 2016 graduate of Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program. He received his MFA from Indiana University and BFA from the University of Illinois."

Hansol Jung, for Drama

"Hansol Jung is a playwright and director from South Korea. Her productions include Cardboard Piano, Among the Dead, No More Sad Things, Wolf Play, and Wild Goose Dreams. Her work has been developed at the Royal Court, New York Theatre Workshop, Berkeley Repertory’s Ground Floor, and others. She is the recipient of the P73 Playwright Fellowship, Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellowship at the Lark, 2050 Fellowship at New York Theatre Workshop, and others. Jung has translated over thirty English musicals into Korean. She holds a Playwriting MFA from the Yale School of Drama and is a member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab."
Tess Mayer

"Hansol Jung is a playwright and director from South Korea. Her productions include Cardboard Piano, Among the Dead, No More Sad Things, Wolf Play, and Wild Goose Dreams. Her work has been developed at the Royal Court, New York Theatre Workshop, Berkeley Repertory’s Ground Floor, and others. She is the recipient of the P73 Playwright Fellowship, Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellowship at the Lark, 2050 Fellowship at New York Theatre Workshop, and others. Jung has translated over thirty English musicals into Korean. She holds a Playwriting MFA from the Yale School of Drama and is a member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab."

Antoinette Nwandu, for Drama

"Antoinette Nwandu is a New York-based playwright. In 2018, her play Breach: a manifesto on race in america through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate will premiere at Victory Gardens, and her play Pass Over will run at LCT3/Lincoln Center. A filmed version of Pass Over — directed by Spike Lee — premiered at Sundance and will stream on Amazon Prime. Antoinette is a MacDowell Fellow, Dramatists Guild Fellow, and Ars Nova PlayGroup alum. Institutions supporting her work include Sundance Theater Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, Ignition Fest, the Cherry Lane Mentor Project, Page 73, and PlayPenn. Honors include the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and spots on the 2016 and 2017 Kilroys lists. Antoinette is under commission from Echo Theater Company, Colt Coeur, Audible, and Ars Nova."
Alicia Asmus

"Antoinette Nwandu is a New York-based playwright. In 2018, her play Breach: a manifesto on race in america through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate will premiere at Victory Gardens, and her play Pass Over will run at LCT3/Lincoln Center. A filmed version of Pass Over — directed by Spike Lee — premiered at Sundance and will stream on Amazon Prime. Antoinette is a MacDowell Fellow, Dramatists Guild Fellow, and Ars Nova PlayGroup alum. Institutions supporting her work include Sundance Theater Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, Ignition Fest, the Cherry Lane Mentor Project, Page 73, and PlayPenn. Honors include the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and spots on the 2016 and 2017 Kilroys lists. Antoinette is under commission from Echo Theater Company, Colt Coeur, Audible, and Ars Nova."

Congratulations to all! Here is a full list of Whiting Award winners.

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