2010
WINNER »

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

nonfiction

Alex Marzano-Lesnevich (they/them/theirs) is the author of The Fact of the Body, which received a Lambda Award, the Chautauqua Prize, the Elle Prize for Nonfiction, and the Prix France Inter-JDD, an award for one book of any genre in the world. It will be translated into nine languages. The recipient of fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, Yaddo, and the British Library, as well as a Rona Jaffe Award, Marzano-Lesnevich has essays published or forthcoming in The New York Times, Oxford American, and Harper’s. They live in Portland, Maine and are an Assistant Professor of English at Bowdoin College.

The Value of Support

"While I do not identify as a woman—having finally come out publicly as genderqueer—support from the Rona Jaffe Foundation changed my life. Without the Foundation, The Fact of a Body would not exist—and without that book, so much of my life and career now. When I received the Rona Jaffe Award, I was a relatively new writer, having published only a few essays. I was working on the manuscript that would eventually become The Fact of a Body, but was unsure how to proceed with it, with student loans beckoning me back to full-time work and many of the legal documents I needed to write the book out of my financial reach. The Award gave me resources and it gave me time. I used the money to retrieve those legal records and buy myself months to read and focus on them—and in those months, the legal case I was researching took root in my imagination, and I began to conceive of the creative structure the book would eventually have. The Award brought the attention of agents; it helped me get my first teaching job; and it brought community. Above all else, it gave me confidence. I am forever grateful."

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