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

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2019
WINNER »

Selena Anderson

fiction

Selena Anderson’s work pushes the boundaries of realism and fantasy as she explores and interrogates the ideas of race, identity, and Black womanhood in the American South. She is working on an inventive collection of stories, Tenderoni, populated by a menagerie of “runaways, enchanted mirrors, judgy psychics, mischievous ghosts, tiny men, women who fall spontaneously pregnant, and girls yearning for connection and trying to survive.” Continuing to explore these themes, Anderson is also working to complete two novels: Quinella and Cenisa, Samira, Monet. Her nominator writes, “Selena articulates, through brilliant prose, the fears and thoughts that preoccupy modern society. I have been consistently struck by the ways in which she balances the confidence of a mature writer with the vulnerability that characterizes the most impactful work. There is, at once, an emotional honesty and physical reality to her writing that has captivated me from story to story.”

 

Anderson's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Oxford American, The Georgia Review, Bomb, Callaloo, and Fence, among others. She has received fellowships from the Kimbilio Center, the MacDowell Colony, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, her M.F.A. from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Houston. Anderson is an assistant professor at San José State University, where she also directs a reading series. She plans to use her Writer’s Award for child care over the next year to finalize her manuscripts and begin a new project about the Texas-to-Mexico underground railroad. She lives in San José, California, with her family.