WINNER »

2020

Yalitza Ferreras

fiction

Yalitza Ferreras is a Dominican American writer who lives in San Francisco. Her stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Southern Review, Aster(ix) Journal, and The Colorado Review among other publications. Her story “The Letician Age” was selected for inclusion in the 2016 Best American Short Stories. She received her B.A. from Mills College and her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan. Ferreras has also received fellowships from Djerassi Residents Artists, Yaddo, Voices of Our Nations, and Tin House Writing Workshop. She also held the 2014-15 Steinbeck Fellowship from San Jose State University. 


Her nominator writes, “What I love about Ferreras’s singular voice is the way it catches the reader by surprise. You read her and immediately understand she can write beautifully, with rigor and insight, but then like an undercurrent, she snatches the reader by their feet with the story’s emotional power. The stories are intimate and fueled with her passion for strong women in challenging situations who must and will survive.” In 2011 Ferreras was struck by a car and suffered a traumatic brain injury. She has spent the ensuing years working toward recovery and pursuing her writing. She is currently working on a novel, The Four Roses, about the ambitious Altagracia, a poor young woman who emigrates from the Dominican Republic to Spain in the early 1990s and seeks to make art amidst her struggle for survival. 


Ferreras will use the support from her Writer’s Award to rent a dedicated writing space and take time off from her design work in order to focus her attention on completing her novel. She says, “I am grateful for the progress I have made, for the support of my writing mentors, and the generosity of my writing community. The question I pose at the heart of my novel is one I have struggled to answer for myself—how does someone who is in the act of survival make art?”

Excerpt from “After the Flood,” The Southern Review, Spring 2020.


“She looked down at the baby, a miniature of his father, whom she’d only been with one stolen night in an unfinished house he’d been hired to protect from thieves. Now she had a version of him forever and that was all she had.”

The Rona Jaffe Foundation  //  Supporting Emerging Women Writers since 1995

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