2008 - 2016 Reid Writers of Color

Junot Díaz was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and is the author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which won the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, African Voices, Best American Short Stories (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000), in Pushcart Prize XXII and in The O'Henry Prize Stories 2009.  He has received a Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Readers Digest Award, the 2002 Pen/Malamud Award, the 2003 US-Japan Creative Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the fiction editor at the Boston Review and the Rudge (1948) and Nancy Allen professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

Vievee Francis is the author of two poetry collections, Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University, 2006) and Horse in the Dark (Northwestern Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies including, Best American Poetry 2010 among others. Work is forthcoming in Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She was the recipient of a 2009 Rona Jaffe Award and a 2010 Kresge Artist Fellowship. A Cave Canem Fellow, she is currently an Associate Editor for Callaloo.

 

One of the most compelling voices in American poetry, Terrance Hayes is the author of four books of poetry; Lighthead (2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award in Poetry; Wind in a Box, winner of a Pushcart Prize; Hip Logic, winner of the National Poetry Series, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and runner-up for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Muscular Music, winner of both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He has been a recipient of many other honors and awards, including two Pushcart selections, four Best American Poetry selections, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Foundation. His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Fence, The Kenyon Review, Jubilat Harvard Review, and Poetry. His poetry has been featured on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

 

Tyehimba Jess' first collection, leadbelly (2005) was chosen for the National Poetry Series by Brigit Pegeen Kelly, and was voted one of the top three poetry books of the year by Black Issues Book Review. His honors include a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry Award. A former artist-in-residence with Cave Canem, Jess has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, as well as a Lannan Writing Residency.  Jess has taught at the Juilliard School, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and at the College of Staten Island in New York City.

 

Ayana Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a recipient of the 2014-15 New York Public Library's Cullman Center Fellowship. THE TWELVE TRIBES OF HATTIE, her first novel, was a New York Times Bestseller, a 2013 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, an NPR Best Books of 2013 and was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as the second selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0. Ayana taught Creative Writing at The Writer's Foundry MFA Program at St. Joseph's College, Brooklyn. She is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

 

James McBride is an author, musician and screenwriter. His landmark memoir, "The Color of Water," is considered an  American classic and read in schools and universities across the United States.  His debut novel,  "Miracle at St. Anna" was translated into a major motion picture directed by American film icon Spike Lee. It was released by Disney/Touchstone in September 2008.  James also wrote the script for the film, now available on DVD. His newest novel, "Song Yet Sung," was released in paperback in January 2009.

 

Lynn Nottage’s new play, By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, enjoyed an extended run Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre (Lily Award, Drama Desk Nomination). It can be seen this upcoming season at The Geffen Playhouse and Goodman Theatre. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined  premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club and Goodman Theatre (OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play). It subsequently toured widely throughout US regional theatres and premiered internationally at the Almeida Theatre in London. The play has since been produced throughout the world, including Cambodia, Chad, The Caribbean, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Germany. Her other plays include Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play); Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por’knockers and POOF!.  Nottage is the recipient of the 2010 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play (Ruined), Helen Hayes Award (Ruined), the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the 2007 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” the National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, the 2005 Guggenheim Grant for Playwriting, the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama, as well as fellowships from the Lucille Lortel Foundation, Manhattan Theatre Club, New Dramatists and New York Foundation for the Arts. 

 

Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; numerous video collaborations, and is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. For Citizen, Rankine won the Forward Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (Citizen was also nominated in the criticism category, making it the first book in the award’s history to be a double nominee), the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the NAACP Image Award. A finalist for the National Book Award, Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the nonfiction category. Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment of the Arts. She lives in California and is the Aerol Arnold Chair in the University of Southern California English Department.

 

Patrick Rosal is the author of three full-length poetry collections, Boneshepherds (forthcoming), My American Kundiman (2006), and Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive (2003). His collections have been honored with the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award, Global Filipino Literary Award and the Asian American Writers Workshop Members' Choice Award. In 2009, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to the Philippines.

 

Patricia Smith, lauded by critics as “a testament to the power of words to change lives,” is the author of six acclaimed poetry volumes. Blood Dazzler, which chronicles the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award. In a review, South Carolina poet laureate Marjory Wentworth wrote, “Blood Dazzler is the narrative of a shameful tragedy, but it is  lyrical and beautiful, like a hymn we want to sing over and over until it lives in our collective memory.” In naming the book one of NPR’s Top 5 books of 2008, John Freeman called Blood Dazzler “a fierce, blood-in-the-mouth collection” which “already has the whiff and feel of folklore.” She is currently at work on Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (Coffee House Press, April)—a memoir written in formal verse—and the young adult novel The Journey of Willie J.

 

Tracy K. Smith is the author of three books of poetry. Her most recent collection, Life on Mars (Graywolf, 2011), won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book. The collection draws on sources as disparate as Arthur C. Clarke and David Bowie, and is in part an elegiac tribute to her late father, an engineer who worked on the Hubble Telescope. Duende (2007) won the 2006 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and an Essence Literary Award. The Body's Question (2003) was the winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Smith was the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers Award in 2004 and a Whiting Award in 2005.