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The Value of Support

Past recipients reflect on the value of support in their creative lives.

Heidy Steidlmayer.JPG

“I think that what the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards offer women writers most profoundly is both a means for in-dwelling and an opening out into the world.” 

Heidy Steidlmayer (2009, poetry) 


“The value of the support given to me by the Rona Jaffe Foundation is immense and multifaceted. It allows me to contribute financially to my household with money earned by my art. Women artists constantly receive messaging that what we do is cute, or a hobby. The Foundation stands against that and says, no. This is your work. This is of value. We see you. I've never received any greater gift than that as a writer.” 

Chelsea Bieker (2018, fiction/nonfiction) 


“Thanks to support from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and others, I feel seen and valued as an important and necessary piece of the fabric of American literature. More than anything, receiving this support is so precious because it provides me with the confidence to keep pushing my pen on the page.”

Tiana Nobile (2017, poetry) 


“The award gave me a sense of confidence and a sense of solidarity with other nascent writers. It is the ideal to which I consistently point whenever I'm asked about this aspect of the publishing industry: support women, equally, and at the moment when they most need a boost—when they are on the rise.”

Namwali Serpell (2011, fiction)


“At that early moment in my writing life, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Award gave me what I needed most: permission. Permission to trust my voice, permission to take the vocation seriously, permission to keep taking risks with my poems, even though they weren’t fashionable or funny. I felt, for the first time, that I was on a path.” 

Joanna Klink (2003, poetry) 


“There is something so precious about the gift of belief — it is quite possibly the greatest gift of all because it can help us to see what we are capable of, maybe even before we realize it ourselves.”

Inara Verzemnieks (2012, nonfiction) 

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