Here Are The Winners Of The 2020 Whiting Awards

Since 1985, the Whiting Foundation has given $50,000 to each of 10 emerging writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama every year. Previous recipients of the Whiting Awards include Terese Marie Mailhot (2019), Alexander Chee (2003), and Colson Whitehead (2000).

This year’s winners were announced on Twitter and Facebook on March 25 — and here they are:

Aria Aber, for poetry

Aria Aber was raised in Germany. Her debut book Hard Damage (University of Nebraska Press, 2019) won the 2018 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in the New Yorker, Kenyon Review, the Yale Review, New Republic, and elsewhere. She was the 2018-2019 Ron Wallace Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Diannely Antigua, for poetry

Diannely Antigua is a Dominican American poet, born and raised in Massachusetts. Her debut collection Ugly Music (YesYes Books, 2019) was the winner of the Pamet River Prize. She received her BA in English from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and received her MFA at NYU. She is the recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers, and the Fine Arts Work Center Summer Program. Her work has been nominated for both the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her poems can be found in Washington Square Review, Bennington Review, the Adroit Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere.

Will Arbery, for drama

Will Arbery is a playwright from Texas and Wyoming. His plays include Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Playwrights Horizons), Plano (Clubbed Thumb), Evanston Salt Costs Climbing (New Neighborhood), and Wheelchair (3 Hole Press). He’s a member of New Dramatists and an alum of The Working Farm at SPACE on Ryder Farm, P73’s Interstate 73, Colt Coeur, Youngblood, and Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers Group. He’s currently the Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Playwrights Horizons, where he is also under commission. His plays have received additional support from NYTW, The Vineyard, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Cape Cod Theater Project, The New Group, The Bushwick Starr, Alliance/Kendeda, and Tofte Lake Center. He received his MFA from Northwestern and his BA from Kenyon College.

Jaquira Díaz, for nonfiction

Jaquira Díaz is the author of Ordinary Girls: A Memoir (Algonquin Books, 2019), a Summer/Fall 2019 Indies Introduce Selection, a Fall 2019 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, a November 2019 Indie Next Pick, and a Library Reads October pick. Her work has been published in Rolling Stone, the Guardian, the Fader, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and The Best American Essays 2016, among other publications. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Kenyon Review, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. A former Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and Consulting Editor at the Kenyon Review, she splits her time between Montréal and Miami Beach. Her second book, I Am Deliberate: A Novel, is forthcoming from Algonquin Books.

Andrea Lawlor, for fiction

Andrea Lawlor teaches writing at Mount Holyoke College, edits fiction for Fence magazine, and has been awarded fellowships by Lambda Literary and Radar Labs. Their writing has appeared in various literary journals including Ploughshares, Mutha, The Millions, and Encyclopedia, Vol. II. Their publications include a chapbook, Position Papers (Factory Hollow Press, 2016), and a novel, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl (Rescue Press hardback, 2017; Vintage paperback, 2019), a 2018 finalist for the Lambda Literary and CLMP Firecracker Awards.

Ling Ma, for fiction

Ling Ma is author of the novel Severance (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018), which received the Kirkus Prize and the Young Lions Fiction Award, and was a New York Times Notable Book of 2018. Her work has appeared in Granta, Playboy, Vice, Ninth Letter, Chicago Reader, and others. She holds an MFA from Cornell University and an AB from the University of Chicago. She lives in Chicago.

Read “Crying at the Playboy Office” by Ling Ma.

Jake Skeets, for poetry

Jake Skeets is Black Streak Wood, born for Water’s Edge. He is Diné from Vanderwagen, New Mexico. He is the author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers (Milkweed Editions, 2019), a National Poetry Series-winning collection of poems. He holds an MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Skeets is a winner of the 2018 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Contest and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Skeets edits an online publication called Cloudthroat and organizes a poetry salon and reading series called Pollentongue, based in the Southwest. He is a member of Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: A Diné Writers’ Collective and currently teaches at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona.

Genevieve Sly Crane, for fiction

Genevieve Sly Crane is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and Stony Brook Southampton, where she received her MFA. She teaches in the Creative Writing and Literature BFA program at Stony Brook. Sorority (Scout Press, 2018) is her first publication.

Jia Tolentino, for nonfiction

Jia Tolentino is a staff writer at the New Yorker, formerly the deputy editor at Jezebel and a contributing editor at The Hairpin. She grew up in Texas, went to the University of Virginia, and got her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan. Her book of essays, Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion (Random House, 2019), was a New York Times bestseller. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, TIME, and others. She lives in Brooklyn.

Genya Turovskaya, for poetry

Genya Turovskaya was born in Kiev, Ukraine and grew up in New York City. She is the author of The Breathing Body of This Thought (Black Square Editions, 2019) and of the chapbooks Calendar (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2002), The Tides (Octopus Books, 2007), New Year’s Day (Octopus Books, 2011), and Dear Jenny (Supermachine, 2011). Her poetry and translations of contemporary Russian poets have appeared in Chicago Review, Conjunctions, A Public Space, and other publications. Her translation of Aleksandr Skidan’s Red Shifting was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2008. She is the co-translator of Elena Fanailova’s Russian Version (UDP, 2009, 2019), which won the University of Rochester’s Three Percent award for Best Translated Book of Poetry in 2010. She is also a co-translator of Endarkenment, The Selected Poems of Arkadii Dragomoshchenko (Wesleyan University Press, 2014). She lives in Brooklyn.

More on Whiting Award winners

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  • Is It Possible To Write A Short Story Free From The White Gaze?Nafissa Thompson-Spires · April 9, 2018
  • Here Are The Winners Of The 2019 Whiting AwardsArianna Rebolini · March 20, 2019
  • Arianna Rebolini is the books editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

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