United States Artists (USA) today announced the recipients of the third annual USA Fellowship grants. The nine literature fellows for 2008 are poets Forrest Gander, Laura Kasischke, Lê Thi Diem Thúy, Joy Harjo, A. Van Jordan, and Harryette Mullen, novelists Barry Hannah and Tayari Jones, and nonfiction writer Jeff Chang.
The program awards fifty-thousand-dollar unrestricted grants to artists who “demonstrate artistic excellence, unique artistic vision, and significant contributions to their fields.” The literature fellows, along with forty-two artists from seven other fields, were chosen from among 362 nominated applicants. They will be honored tonight at a gala event at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Since USA was founded in 2006 through contributions from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Prudential Foundation, and Rasmuson Foundation, the USA Fellowship program has provided a total of $7.5 million to working artists.
“Many of this country’s two million artists struggle to make ends meet, and, particularly in this challenging economic climate, it is essential to invest in our nation’s finest creative voices,” said USA board chair Susan V. Berresford. The program continues to be funded through philanthropists, corporate donors, and foundations.
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