The 2014 Emerging Writer Fellows

News June 20, 2014

We are thrilled to announce our inaugural Emerging Writer Fellows: Vanessa Hutchinson, Mahreen Sohail, and April Wolfe. We would also like to thank all of the writers who submitted manuscripts, and the readers who spent the past eight weeks evaluating, debating, and championing applications.

Supporting new writers has been an essential part of A Public Space since the debut issue—Leslie Jamison, Nam Le, and Jesmyn Ward published their first stories in the magazine—and with the Emerging Writer Fellowships we hope to continue this tradition by seeking out writers who have not yet published a book-length work but whose writing shows exceptional talent.

In response to an open call in March—we asked writers to submit one manuscript (a short story, novel excerpt, or essay) and also to tell us about another writer whose work had been meaningful to them—we received approximately 1,200 submissions from emerging writers across the world.

As the 2014 Emerging Writer Fellows, Vanessa, Mahreen, and April will each receive:

 —a six-month mentorship from an established A Public Space contributor;

 —publication in the magazine;

 —a stipend of $1,000.

In addition, Vanessa Hutchinson will become our very first writer-in-residence at the A Public Space offices in Brooklyn.

Here is some information about the three successful fellows, and a glimpse of the pieces with which they applied for the fellowships:

Vanessa Hutchinson grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Her previous work has appeared in Epoch and New York Stories. She writes about communities of color, with a particular focus on the Caribbean Diaspora living on the East Coast, anywhere from Brooklyn to Florida. She is a 2007 graduate of the Iowa Writers‘ Workshop and was a 2007–2009 Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her favorite writers include Derek Walcott and Earl Lovelace.

The dark little face looks familiar, but Teacher Evelyn doesn't know whose child she is. The girl has black hair, black eyes like all Union folk. Then she realizes that it's not that she recognizes this young girl, but that she remembers what it was like to be her. —"Hairoun"

Mahreen Sohail works as a marketing executive at a hotel chain in Islamabad and is visiting faculty at the National University of Sciences and Technology. She has previously lived in Malaysia, Oman, Sweden, and New York. One of her favorite pieces of fiction is Amy Hempel’s “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried.” She is working on a collection of stories set in Pakistan.

Across from where our car was parked, a​ ​young man in a blue kameez and a red sash leaned​ ​over a stretcher, his cheeks like small hard tumors in his face. He gently admonished the dying soldier: this is selfish guy, pull yourself together, while his friend–another paramedic--stood next to him taking quick, worried puffs from a joint. —"Basic Training"

April Wolfe studied playwriting and fiction writing at Western Michigan University and did an MFA in fiction writing at Boise State University. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in Unsaid, The Collagist, Quarterly West, and Broken Pencil, among other publications. She is an editor at the photography industry magazine The Picture Professional and has written and directed two short films, Widower and Another Animal in the Pool of Tears. She was once a semi-pro wrestler. Now she sometimes performs comedic PowerPoint presentations at rock clubs. She loves the work of Carson McCullers and lives in Los Angeles.

She hadn’t called you a slut, but she had implied it, and that word—implied—would become one of your favorites, because you knew it was the closest to truth that any word had ever gotten​. —"Trigonometric Functions (+1 = –1)"

You can keep up to date with fellowship news and our program of public events here and on Twitter @APublicSpace. Submissions for the 2015 Emerging Writer Fellowships will open on September 15, 2014. Please consider subscribing to A Public Space to help make more projects like this possible.

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