The Whiting Award Winners For 2018 Are The 10 Writers You Really Need To Be Watching This Year
On the evening of Wednesday, March 21, the Whiting Foundation announced the names of its 10 new Whiting Award winners at a ceremony at the New-York Historical Society. These 10 winners will each receive a $50,000 prize in celebration of the achievement.
The Whiting Awards is intended to identity exceptional emerging writers and bestow them with a grant that will allow them to devote themselves more fully to their art. Submissions are not accepted, and winners are selected based upon the recommendations of 100 anonymous nominators and a small pool of anonymous judges. However they are selected, the judges are clearly doing their due diligence, and the proof is in the previous winners, some of whom include Denis Johnson, Tracy K. Smith, Jeffrey Eugenides, David Foster Wallace, and Tyehimda Jess, and more recently, The Idiot author Elif Batuman, WHEREAS poet Layli Long Soldier, Night Sky With Exit Wounds poet Ocean Vuong, Asymmetry author Lisa Halliday, and The Line Becomes a River author Francisco Cantú.
Here are the 10 winners of this year's Whiting Awards, with detailed biographies below.
For more information on the authors and excerpts on their work, visit The Paris Review:
Poetry & Nonfiction: Anne Boyer
Fiction: Patty Yumi Cottrell
Born in Korea and raised in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Milwaukee, writer Patty Yumi Cottrell is the author of one novel, Sorry To Disrupt The Peace, which was the winner of the Best First Book-Fiction 2017 National Medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards.
Fiction: Brontez Purnell
A zinester, writer, dancer, and musician who lives in Oakland, California, Brontez Purnell has written for Jigsaw, San Francisco Weekly, and Maximum Rock & Roll.
Fiction: Weike Wang
The author of Chemistry, Weike Wang was a finalist for the 2018 Aspen Words Literary Prize and a 5 Under 35 National Book Foundation honoree. In addition to an MFA from Boston University, she has a BA from Harvard University, an SM and SD from the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.
Drama: Nathan Alan Davis
A playwright from Rockford, Ill. who now lives in New York City, Nathan Alan Davis is the writer of Nat Turner in Jerusalem, Dontrell Who Kissed The Sea, and The Wind and the Breeze. He is a graduate of Juilliard's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program, as well as a graduate of the University of Illinois and Indiana University, where he received his MFA.
Drama: Hansol Jung
A playwright and director from South Korea, Hansol Jung's works include Cardboard Piano, Among the Dead, No More Sad Things, Wolf Things, and Wild Goose Dreams. She has an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.
Drama: Antonoinette Nwandu
New York-based playwright Antoinette Nwandu is the writer of Breach: a manifesto on race in america through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate and Pass Over, which has been adapted into a film directed by Spike Lee.
Nonfiction: Esmé Weijun Wang
The author of The Border of Paradise and the forthcoming The Collected Schizophrenias, Esmé Weijun Wang was named one of Granta's Best of Young American Novelists in 2017. She holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in San Francisco.
Poetry: Rickey Laurentiis
Raised in New Orleans, Rickey is the author of Boy with Thorn. He currently lives in Pittsburgh, where he is the inaugural Fellow in Creative Writing at the Center for African American Poetry and Politics at the University of Pittsburgh.