At a ceremony tonight in New York City, the Whiting Foundation announced the recipients of its 2019 Whiting Awards. The annual $50,000 awards are given to emerging poets, fiction writers, nonfiction writers, and dramatists on the basis of “early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come.”
The ten winners are poets Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Tyree Daye, and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal; fiction writers Hernan Diaz, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, and Merritt Tierce; nonfiction writers Terese Marie Mailhot and Nadia Owusu; and dramatists Michael R. Jackson and Lauren Yee. Find out more about the winners at the Whiting Foundation website, and read excerpts of their work at the Paris Review.
Since establishing the awards in 1985, the Whiting Foundation has awarded $8 million to 340 emerging writers. Previous winners include poets Terrance Hayes and Jorie Graham and fiction writers Colson Whitehead and Denis Johnson. Last year’s winners included poets Anne Boyer and Tommy Pico, fiction writers Patty Yumi Cottrell and Weike Wang, and nonfiction writer Esmé Weijun Wang.
The annual awards are not open to submissions. A group of writers, professors, editors, agents, critics, booksellers, and other literary professionals nominate writers; a smaller panel of writers, scholars, and editors select the winners. In addition to the Whiting Awards, the Whiting Foundation administers grants to creative nonfiction writers, scholars in the humanities, literary magazines, and people who work “to preserve, document, and disseminate the timeless cultural heritage that is under threat around the world.”
Photos clockwise from top left: Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Tyree Daye, and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal; fiction writers Hernan Diaz, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Lauren Yee, Michael R. Jackson, Nadia Owusu, Terese Marie Mailhot, and Merritt Tierce.