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RJFWA Women Writers Receive 2024 Literary Honors

Vievee Francis, Airea D. Matthews, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Tracy K. Smith, Elisa Gonzalez

Vievee Francis (’09), Airea D. Matthews (’16), Kirstin Valdez Quade (’13), Tracy K. Smith (’04) received 2024 Guggenheim Fellowships & Elisa Gonzalez (’20) received a 2024 Whiting Writer’s Award and a 2024 Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Vievee Francis (RJFWA ’09) is the author of The Shared World (Northwestern University Press, 2023); Forest Primeval (TriQuarterly Books, 2015), winner of the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2012), winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize; and Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006). Her work has appeared in Poetry, Best American Poetry 2010, 2014, 2017, 2019, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, and elsewhere. In 2009 she received a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and in 2010, a Kresge Fellowship. She is the recipient of the 2021 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry. Born in West Texas, she earned an MFA from the University of Michigan in 2009. She serves as an associate editor of Callaloo and associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. (photo credit: Matthew Olzmann)

Airea D. Matthews’s (RJFWA ’16) first collection of poems, Simulacra, received the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. She is also the author of Bread and Circus (Scribner 2023), a memoir-in-verse and bold poetic reckoning with the realities of class and race, which was named a finalist for The LA Times Book Prize in Poetry. In addition to her 2024 Guggenheim Fellowship, Matthews’s has earned a 2022 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship, a 2020 Pew Fellowship, and the 2017 Margaret Walker For My People award. In 2016, she received both the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Matthews holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania as well as an M.F.A. from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program and an M.P.A. from the Gerald Ford School of Public Policy, both at the University of Michigan. From 2022-2023, she served as Philadelphia’s 6th Poet Laureate. She is an associate professor and co-chairs the creative writing department at Bryn Mawr College, where she was presented the Lindback Distinguished Teaching award.


Kirstin Valdez Quade (RJFWA ’13) is the author of The Five Wounds (W.W. Norton 2021), winner of the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the Aspen Words Literary Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award, and the Maya Angelou Book Award. Kirstin’s story collection, Night at the Fiestas (W. W. Norton, 2015), won the John Leonard Prize from the National Book Critics Circle, the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. Kirstin is the recipient of a Lannan Fellowship, the John Guare Writer’s Fund Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, and a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford. She is an Associate Professor at Stanford University. (photo credit: Holly Andres)

Tracy K. Smith (RJFWA ’04) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, memoirist, editor, translator, and opera librettist. She served as the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States from 2017-19, during which time she spearheaded American Conversations: Celebrating Poems in Rural Communities with the Library of Congress, created the American Public Media podcast The Slowdown, and edited the anthology American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time. Her books include To Free the Captives: A Plea for the American Soul (2023), Such Color: New and Selected Poems (2021), Wade in the Water (2018), Ordinary Light (2015), Life on Mars (2011), Duende (2007), and The Body's Question (2003). She is a professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, and a Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

Elisa Gonzalez (RJFWA ’20) is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer. Her work appears in The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. A graduate of Yale University and the New York University M.F.A. program, she has received fellowships from the Norman Mailer Center, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Rolex Foundation, and the U.S. Fulbright Program. Her debut poetry collection, Grand Tour (FSG), was published in September 2023. Her debut novel, The Awakenings, and her first nonfiction book, Strangers on Earth, are also forthcoming from FSG. (photo credit: Simon Bahçeli)



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