The Rona Jaffe Foundation  //  Celebrating 25 Years of Supporting Emergent Women Writers

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2011
WINNER »

Apricot Irving

nonfiction

Apricot Irving is the author of The Gospel of Trees, winner of the 2019 Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a Literary Arts Creative Nonfiction Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in Granta, On Being, MORE and Topic Magazine. Raised a missionary’s daughter in the north of Haiti, Irving reported on post-earthquake recovery efforts for the radio program This American Life. She currently lives in the Columbia River Gorge, where her reporting on the Eagle Creek Fire was selected for the 2019 Best American Science & Nature Writing.

The Value of Support

"The value of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award is hard to calculate. There is, first and foremost, the private, internal shift. To discover that I was worthy of being celebrated as a writer, at a time when my sons were still small enough to demand what felt like all of me, gave me confidence that I cannot begin to measure. I built a writing studio, and traveled to Haiti. I will never forget that splendid, overwhelming evening, lifted out the solitude of the writing life into an elegant reading room. To be honored by the Rona Jaffe Foundation opens uncounted doors. I belong to a circle of formidable, rigorous, generous writers who share a profound respect for the power of language, and that companionship has been a lasting gift. I have read alongside fellow Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award winners in cities across the U.S. and we have laughed and cried together over shared meals. This is what support means to me: the bolstering of confidence, the freedom and space to write, and the knowledge that we are in this together—kindred minds at work on parallel questions, following our curiosity to see where it leads."