The 2015 Emerging Writer Fellows

News February 10, 2015

We are thrilled to announce our 2015 Emerging Writer Fellows: Jai Chakrabarti, Cornelius FitzPatrick, and Arinze Ifeakandu. We would also like to thank all of the writers who submitted manuscripts, the readers who spent the past eight weeks evaluating, debating, and championing applications, and the National Endowment for the Arts for its generous support of the program.

Supporting new writers has been an essential part of A Public Space since our debut issue—Leslie Jamison, Nam Le, and Jesmyn Ward published their first stories in the magazine—and with the Emerging Writer Fellowships, which are now in their second year, we look 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 September 2014—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 over 1,200 submissions from emerging writers across the world.

As our 2015 Emerging Writer Fellows, Jai, Cornelius, and Arinze will each receive:

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

—publication in the magazine;

—an honorarium of $1,000.

In addition, Jai will become 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:

Jai Chakrabarti graduated from the Brooklyn College Fiction MFA program in 2013, where his short fiction won both a Ross Feld Award and a Himan Brown Award. His previous work has appeared in journals such as Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Coffin Factory, and India-based English-language newspaper The Statesman. One of his favorite books is Lorrie Moore’s Like Life.

The tea was ready, as were the sweets, the whole conical pile of them – the base layer of pistachio mounds, the center almond bars that Nikhil had rolled by hand himself, and on the top of the cone, three lichis from their garden, so precariously balanced a single misstep would’ve upset their delectable geometry. – “A Small Sacrifice For Enormous Happiness”

Jai will be mentored by Mary-Beth Hughes and Elizabeth Gaffney.

Cornelius FitzPatrick is a third-year fiction student and graduate teaching assistant at Colorado State University’s MFA program. He is also an associate editor at the Colorado Review. He was born in Brooklyn but grew up in California, Georgia, Switzerland, and New Jersey. One of his favorite short stories is “Murderers” by Leonard Michaels.

Napoleon did not like these games but had learned how to play them at Briene. He expected there would be more such games in Paris. At least the sky in Paris made sense. The sun looked satisfied with the buildings; the buildings paid proper tribute to the sun’s yellows, whites, blues. – “The Future Of Statues”

Cornelius will be jointly mentored by Jack Livings and Antoine Wilson.

Arinze Ifeakandu is a twenty-year-old Nigerian writer. He was born in Kano State and currently studies literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. One of the books that has influenced him most as a writer is Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In 2013, he was shortlisted by Adichie to attend the annual Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop in Lagos.

Time has stretched its arms and carried you to Ibadan for your Youth Service. Time has brought you back to Nsukka where you now have a lecturing job. Time has helped you find humor again. You remember Chisom saying over the phone, Dumebi say your friend has go to heaven. Will he see Mummy? When he said that, you had broken down and cried. – “God’s Children Are Little Broken Things”

Under our fellowship program, Arinze will be mentored by Salvatore Scibona.

Our 2014 Emerging Writer Fellows were Vanessa Hutchinson, Mahreen Sohail, and April Wolfe, whose work will be published in upcoming issues of A Public Space. We will announce information about the 2016 Emerging Writer Fellowships later this year.


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