2007 Winners
Elif Batuman

Elif Batuman (Nonfiction/Fiction)

Elif Batuman’s nonfiction work has appeared in The New Yorker, n + 1, and The Nation and covers subjects as various as Isaac Babel, Russian ice palaces, and Thai boxing. She has a B.A. from Harvard and just completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Stanford. She plans to use her Writer’s Award to delay full-time work for up to two years in order to begin and complete her first novel entitled My Apprenticeship—her own version of the Bildungsroman with a twist. She says of her project, “I propose to write a different story of education about learning from books—about learning even, under the much-maligned auspices of the University.” Ms. Batuman lives in San Francisco.

Sarah Braunstein

Sarah Braunstein (Fiction)

Sarah Braunstein, of Portland, Maine, is working on a first novel, Split, that follows several interconnected characters in the process of fleeing their small-town lives. Her nominator writes, “Sarah’s work, beautiful and singular, has haunted me for years. She possesses both uncanny insight into human behavior and the language to capture it freshly and memorably on the page.” Ms. Braunstein has an M.F.A. from The University of Iowa and she recently completed her M.S.W. from Smith College. She has been working part-time as a social worker. She plans to use her Writer’s Award for child care and studio space as well as taking a research trip to New York State, where most of her novel is set.

Robin Ekiss

Robin Ekiss (Poetry)

Robin Ekiss, of San Francisco, received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from UC Davis. She is finishing her first book of poems, The Mansion of Happiness, which takes its title from the first board game published in America and explores personal and cultural history through metaphors of toy making and invention. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, Ploughshares, Triquarterly, and VQR. She has recently begun work on a second collection of poems that looks at diaspora, decadence, provenance, and providence through the lens of art theft during the Holocaust. She will use her Writer’s Award to take a year off from teaching Continuing Studies courses at Stanford, where she was a Stegner Fellow (2002-04), and to travel to Prague to research her second book.

Alma García

Alma García (Fiction)

Alma García is working to complete her first novel, tentatively titled Shallow Waters, which follows the harrowing year in the lives of the DuPre and Gonzalez families in El Paso, Texas, after Rose DuPre, wife and mother, disappears. Ms. García says, “The mystery unravels against a backdrop of divisions—the physical border between two countries, the emotional barriers that separate people, and the unexpected places where those boundaries blur.” She received her M.F.A. from the University of Arizona, and her stories have appeared in Narrative and Passages North, among others. Her Writer’s Award will allow her to write full-time for two years and complete both her first novel and her second, which she has begun to research and also takes place in the Southwest. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Jennifer Grotz

Jennifer Grotz (Poetry)

Jennifer Grotz lives in Greensboro, NC, and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at UNC, Greensboro, and Assistant Director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She received an M.F.A. from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. Her first collection of poems, Cusp, won the Bakeless Prize for Poetry and was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2003. Her second manuscript comes out of her fascination with contemporary Polish poetry. Her Writer’s Award will allow her to take advantage of a Camargo Fellowship in France next spring and to complete her second book of poems.

Holly Goddard Jones

Holly Goddard Jones (Fiction)

Holly Goddard Jones has just completed her first story collection, Girl Trouble. Her work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Kenyon Review, EPOCH, and The Southern Review. Her story “Life Expectancy” was selected by Edward P. Jones to be included in New Stories From The South: The Year’s Best, 2007 (Algonquin). Ms. Jones was raised in Kentucky and this is the place her stories and characters inhabit. She received her M.F.A. from Ohio State University, taught at Denison University, and has recently moved back to Kentucky and taken a position teaching creative writing at Murray State University. She will use her Writer’s Award to work on a novel entitled Magnetic North.