Lit Fest Fellows 2017

The Lit Fest Fellowships for Emerging Writers support advanced writers of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and dramatic writing who haven’t yet published a book-length work and who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend a weeklong or weekend Master Workshop. These workshops feature visiting instructors, and participants are provided with craft-based guidance, a supportive and constructive community with whom to share their work, and a one-on-one consultation with the instructor.

2017 Recipients

We had the honor of reviewing applications from talented writers all over the country, and we’re pleased to announce the 2017 fellows:

Terry Dodd Memorial Fellowship for Dramatic Writing: Leticia Darlina Tanguma

Finalists:  Jessica Austgen, Melissa Lucero McCarl, Tracy Shaffer, and Carolyn Getches

Selected by: Aleshea Harris

Judge's statement: “Though each of the selections I experienced are compelling, Daughters of Aztlán is for me the strongest. The writer seems to have a clear understanding of the world, its characters and the arc of the narrative. I especially appreciate being sincerely surprised by the supernatural bend, delighted by the humor, and concerned for the plight of these richly drawn human beings. I am pleased to give this work my recommendation.”

Bio: Leticia Darlina Tanguma has contributed artwork and poetry to the Gathering Place’s quarterly Day by Day publications and to the book, One Day, One Night at a Time: Women Write of Poverty, Homelessness, and Hope. As a visual artist, she includes poetry in social justice art projects that have toured at the Denver Art Museum Drawing Studio, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance School, and at Regis University. She has also received awards from the Puffin Foundation for illustration and story, and from the Denver Women’s Press Club for poetry and nonfiction. Currently, she attends insightful and joyful workshops facilitated by Lighthouse at The Gathering Place and Hard Times at the Denver Central Library.

Poetry: Aisha Down

Finalists: Elle Echo, Cody Deitz, Kamal Kimball, and Alicia Mountain

Selected by: Bojan Louis

Judge's statement: "The poems in this selection display a variety of skill and landscape. They are image driven and sensual, and offer the astute and lyrical narrations of a witness in unfamiliar places. The poems resonate and ask us to look into and see beyond the body and its pleasures. They glow with talent and promise."

Bio: During the day Aisha Down’s a reporter for a daily newspaper in Cambodia, and a translator of Khmer poetry and fiction. Working closely with the writer Tararith Kho, she's published translations in The St. Petersburg Review and Asia Magazine. She will publish her first poem in Consequence magazine this spring.  

Nonfiction: Michael Fischer

Finalists: Evie Bromiley, Nichole LeFebvre, Krista Valera Posell, Claire Cronin, and Cathy Bell

Selected by: Robin Black

Judge's statement: “I’m delighted to have read these opening pages. There is a great depth to them and a breadth of reference that serves the narrative perfectly. From the dreams of incarcerated men to the ‘Zen-like’ habits of bighorn sheep, this voice never stumbles, only draws steady, unexpected lines between personal experience and universal need—which happens to be exactly what a memoir is meant to do.”

Bio: Michael Fischer was released from state prison in 2015. He is managing editor of Sierra Nevada Review, assistant nonfiction editor of Profane, an interview contributor to Sixty Inches from Center, and a Moth Chicago StorySlam winner. His work appears or is forthcoming in The Sun, River Teeth, Hotel Amerika, The Rumpus, Hobart, and elsewhere.

Fiction: Evie Bromiley

Finalists: Alison Alexander, Caroline Bodian, Allison Johnson, Shara Davis, and Kathleen Bohland

Selected by: Joanna Luloff

Judge's statement: "It was great to spend time with these stories/excerpts. Each selection had its strengths, but my favorite is 'Cutting For Sign.' Right away, I was struck by the story's attention to detail—from the rusting car to the desert landscape to the textures of the grandfather's skin. Out of silence and subtext and subtly conveyed imagery and exchanges, the story thoughtfully engages the liminal space between borders—the geographic borders between the Sonora Desert of Mexico and Arizona, the figurative borders between the past and present carved from loss, and the emotional borders that bridge, but also make separate, these family members. I really appreciated the contemplation of space, the expansiveness of the desert juxtaposed with necessary invisibility, and the small spaces the characters seek to hide in.” 

Bio: Evie Bromiley is a recipient of a scholarship from the Aspen Institute, a Lisel Mueller scholarship and an Elizabeth George Foundation grant. She is currently pursuing an MFA at Warren Wilson College. Her story “If the City Falls” is forthcoming in AGNI in April, 2017. She began writing at Lighthouse several years ago, in Bill Henderson's advanced novel class.

2017 Judges

Our team of esteemed judges, who read blind submissions for the final fellowship selections, include:

Aleshea Harris (dramatic writing) is a playwright, poet, and educator who received an MFA from California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been presented at the Costume Shop at American Conservatory Theater, Playfest at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, freeFall Theatre Company, VOXfest at Dartmouth, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice, California Institute of the Arts, La Comédie de Saint-Étienne-National Drama Center in France, the Skirball Center, The Theatre @ Boston Court, REDCAT, and in the 2015 anthology, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Harris is a MacDowell Fellow and winner of the 2016 Relentless Award from the American Playwriting Foundation for her play, Is God IsIs God Is was published by 3hole Press in the Spring of 2017.

Joanna Luloff’s (fiction) short story collection, The Beach at Galle Road, was published by Algonquin Books in 2012. It was selected by Barnes & Noble as a Discover Great New Writers pick and won the Maria Thomas Fiction Prize from Peace Corps Writers. Her stories have appeared in several journals, including The Missouri Review, Western Humanities Review, and New South. Her novel Remind Me Again What Happened is forthcoming from Algonquin. Joanna received her MFA from Emerson College and her PhD from the University of Missouri. She is an assistant professor of English at University of Colorado Denver, where she also edits fiction and nonfiction for Copper Nickel.

Bojan Louis (poetry) is a member of the Navajo Nation—Naakai Dine’é; Ashiihí; Ta’neezahnii; Bilgáana. His first collection of poems, Currents, is forthcoming from BkMk Press in 2017. He is the author of the nonfiction chapbook, Troubleshooting Silence in Arizona (Guillotine Series, 2012). His fiction has appeared in Numéro Cinq, Alaska Quarterly Review, Yellow Medicine Review, and Off the Path: An Anthology of 21st Century American Indian Writers Volume 2; his creative nonfiction in As/Us Journal and MudCity Journal. He is currently Poetry Editor at RED INK: An International Journal of Indigenous Literature, Arts, and Humanities.

Robin Black (nonfiction) is the author of the story collection, If I loved you, I would tell you this, the novel, Life Drawing, and, most recently, Crash Course: Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide. She teaches in the Rutgers-Camden MFA Program and lives in Philadelphia.