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Celebrating Our Award Winners-2021 Fall Releases & Recent Literary Achievements


(l-r): Ashley M. Jones, Asali Solomon, Lisa Russ Spaar, and Tiphanie Yanique


Ashley M. Jones (’15) Reparations Now! (Hub City Press, Sept. 2021). Starred review in Publishers Weekly. “In formal and non-traditional poems, Jones calls for long-overdue reparations to the Black descendants of enslaved people in the United States of America. In Reparations Now!, her third collection, she deftly takes on the worst of today—state-sanctioned violence, pandemic-induced crises, and white silence—all while uplifting Black joy. While exploring the ways we navigate our relationships with ourselves and others, Jones holds us all accountable, asking us to see the truth, to make amends, to honor one another.” In August 2021 Ashley was named Poet Laureate of Alabama. She is the State’s first Black poet and its youngest to hold this post. Asali Solomon (’05) The Days of Afrekete (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Oct. 2021). Starred review in Publishers Weekly and noted book for October by Time Magazine. “Inspired by Mrs. Dalloway and Sula, as well as Audre Lorde’s Zami, Asali Solomon’s third novel, The Days of Afrekete, is a deft, expertly layered, naturally funny, and deeply human examination of two women coming back to themselves at midlife. It is a watchful celebration of our choices and where they take us, the people who change us, and how we can reimagine ourselves even when our lives seem set.” Lisa Russ Spaar (’00) Madrigalia: New & Selected Poems (Persea Books, Nov. 2021) and More Truly and More Strange: 100 Contemporary American Self-Portrait Poems (Persea Books, Sept. 2021), which she edited and introduced. “Spaar’s poems are both colloquial and sumptuous, hyper-attuned to contemporary idiom while rooted in language’s primordial, earthy roots. In Madrigalia, her oeuvre is on full display; it is a showcase of her indispensable poetic gifts, a tribute to a writer both ascetic and ecstatic.” Tiphanie Yanique (’10) Monster in the Middle ( Riverhead, Oct. 2021). A noted fall book by the New York Times. Yanique's third work of fiction is "vibrant and emotionally riveting. It moves across decades, from the U.S. to the Virgin Islands to Ghana and back again, to show how one couple’s romance is intrinsically influenced by the family lore and love stories that preceded their own pairing. Exploring desire and identity, religion and class, passion and obligation, the novel posits that in order to answer the question ‘who are we meant to be with?’ we must first understand who we are and how we came to be.”


More News From RJFWA Winners

(l-r): Rivka Galchen, Michelle Tea (photo: Jenny Westerhoff), Lan Samantha Chang (photo: Annette Hornischer), Ladee Hubbard, Kirstin Valdez Quade (photo: Holly Andres), Ann Harleman Rivka Galchen’s (’06) second novel, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is A Witch (FSG, June 2021), is a finalist for the 2021 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust fiction prize; Michelle Tea (’99) received a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship in general nonfiction; Lan Samantha Chang (’98) and Ladee Hubbard (’16) were awarded 2021 Berlin Prizes; Kirstin Valdez Quade’s (’13) debut novel, The Five Wounds (W.W. Norton, 2021), is a finalist for the 2021 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize (see more on Quade's novel); Ann Harleman’s (’04) novel Tell Me, Signora (Elixir Press, 2020) was a finalist for the 2021 Northern California Book Awards.


See more news and learn about other recent publications from our award winners here.

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