A Room of Her Own Foundation, the nonprofit organization based outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, recently announced that New Mexico novelist Summer Wood is the winner of its $50,000 Gift of Freedom Award. Wood, the first New Mexico writer to be selected for the award, will receive the cash prize over two years, during which she plans to work on her second novel, "Wrecker," at her home in San Cristobal.
Founded in 2000, A Room of Her Own Foundation developed the biennial award in an attempt to relieve a woman writer of financial obligations, allowing her to finish an artistic project of her choice. "There’s a different quality of thought and language that arises with the promise of enough time to really sink into your work," says Wood, whose first novel, Arroyo, was published by Chronicle Books in 2001.
In the seven years since its founding, A Room of Her Own Foundation has provided over $500,000 to women writers and artists. It also sponsors retreats, public readings, a book club, and a Web-based resource center for women.
In other awards news, fiction writer Alice Notley recently won the $25,000 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets for her collection Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press). David Baker, Mark McMorris, and Marie Ponsot were the judges for the award, which is given for a book of poetry published during the previous year.
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