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A Look at the Emerging Writer Fellowships

Read more from G&A: The Contest Blog

A blog from: Poets & Writers Magazine

Posted by Prize Reporter on 9.03.10

The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland, just a few miles north of Washington, D.C., home to writing workshops and resources for area writers also offers a number of reading fellowships to poets and prose writers in the early stages of their careers. Fellows receive an honorarium and a slot to read at Story/Stereo, a fusion of live music and literature in performance that was attended by roughly seven hundred listeners in its first year, 2009.

Story/Stereo's fall season opens tonight, featuring California-based poet Allison Benis White, whose poetry collection Self-Portrait With Crayon won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize in 2008, and fiction writer Aryn Kyle of New York City, author of a short story collection, Boys and Girls Like You and Me (Scribner, 2010), and a novel, The God of Animals (Scribner, 2007). Benis White and Kyle will be accompanied by musician John Davis at the event, which begins at 8 PM.

Other fellows selected for the fall are poet Jenny Browne (The Second Reason) and memoirist Debra Gwartney (Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters), who will read on October 8, and poet Alison Pelegrin (Big Muddy River of Stars) and fiction writer Doreen Baingana (Tropical Fish: Stories Out of Entebbe), set to perform on November 5.

The fellows are chosen by a panel of the center's board members, community representatives, and workshop leaders. In the first two seasons of the program, the winners were seven men and five women, half of whom had published only one book, and the other half two. Five fellows were writers of color.

Kyle Semmel, the center's publications and communications manager, says the organization is looking to bring in emerging writers from across the country. (Fellows who live more than 250 miles from Bethesda receive an honorarium of five hundred dollars and local writers receive half that amount.) The deadline for writers nationwide to submit work for spring 2011 consideration is September 30.

In the video below, tonight's featured writer Aryn Kyle reads the first part of an essay at the Franklin Park Reading Series in Brooklyn, New York, about her experience on a book tour (and dating another writer at the time). Subsequent scenes from the reading are posted on YouTube.

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