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Spring 2021 Debuts from RJFWA winners

We are pleased to announce that Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Awards winners Gabriela Garcia (’18), Tiana Nobile (’17), and Kirstin Valdez Quade (’13) have debut books this spring.

(l-r): Tiana Nobile, Gabriela Garcia (photo by Andria Lo), Kirstin Valdez Quade (photo by Holly Andres)

Gabriela Garcia’s (‘18) first novel, Of Women and Salt, published by Flatiron Books in March, was selected as A Good Morning America Book Club Pick, A Roxane Gay Book Club Pick, A Buzzfeed Book Club Pick, as well as an Indie Next Pick.

“From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia's Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals—personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others—that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots.”

Tiana Nobile’s (‘17) debut collection of poems, Cleave, was published by Hub City Press in April and named “A New & Noteworthy” selection by The New York Times.

These poems “grapple with the history of transnational adoption, both her own from South Korea and the broader, collective experience. In conversation with psychologist Harry Harlow’s monkey experiments and utilizing fragments of a highly personal cache of documents from her own adoption, these poems explore dislocation, familial relationships, and the science of love and attachment. Cleave attempts to unknot the complexities of adoptee childhood, revealing a nature of opposites—‘the child cleaved to her mother / the child cleaved from her mother’—while reckoning with the histories that make us.”

Kirstin Valdez Quade’s (‘13) (Night at the Fiestas) debut novel, The Five Wounds, was published by W.W. Norton in March and named one of the Most Anticipated Books of 2021 by Oprah Magazine, The Week, The Millions, and Electric Literature. It's also Roxane Gay's Audacious Book Club selection for July.

“From an award-winning storyteller comes a stunning debut novel about a New Mexican family’s extraordinary year of love and sacrifice. Kirstin Valdez Quade conjures characters that will linger long after the final page, bringing to life their struggles to parent children they may not be equipped to save.” See more news and learn about other recent publications from our award winners here.



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