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Reading and Conversation

A reading with the Bette Howland Prizewinners


Wednesday, February 1, 2023 | 6:00 p.m. ET The New School, 66 West 12th Street, 4th Floor (A407), New York, NY

We are pleased to join the New School and Honor Moore to celebrate the Bette Howland Prizewinners on Wednesday, February 1. Charlotte Slivka, Valeriya Kipnis, Rocky Halpern, and Na Zhong will read from their prizewinning essays.

The Bette Howland Prize is awarded annually to an essay by a graduating student in the MFA program in nonfiction at the New School in New York City. The prize was established by Honor Moore to honor the legacy of Bette Howland: "In the winter of 1977, I went to the MacDowell Colony for the first time.... I met a woman writer about eight years older than me—at the time, she seemed much older!—who had just published a memoir of her time in a mental hospital—the book was called W-3. We became friends—long talks in what I remember as her very dark writing studio—her typewriter in a pool of light. She was the first woman writer to encourage me."

Rocky Halpern

(he/they) is a Brooklyn-based writer, sex educator, witchy transsexual, and tenderhearted Pisces rising. He works with LGBTQ homeless youth and recently won first place in a writing contest for his short story "Fairy Boy Flight.” His essay "Candy for Dinner in the Desert" was selected by Alexander Chee for the 2019 Bette Howland Prize.

Valeriya Kipnis

was born in Russia and raised in Brooklyn. She recently returned from her 2022 Fulbright Fellowship to Ukraine... which she spent in Poland. There, she worked on a documentary project with displaced children from Ukraine, centered on memory and place. She currently works for This American Life, and before that was an Emmy Award–winning reporter covering national and international news for Vice. A graduate of the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study and the New School's Creative Writing MFA Program in nonfiction, she is currently working on a book of essays about immigrants, the former Soviet Union, Brooklyn, and language. Her essay "Little Yellow Pills" was selected by Emily Bernard for the 2021 Bette Howland Prize.

Rebekka Rafnsdóttir

is an Icelandic writer and a filmmaker based in Reykjavík, Iceland. Her work is rooted in philosophy and literature, although you will find traces of all creative arts in her work. Her essay "A Girl on the Hunt" was selected by Patricia Hampl for the 2017 Bette Howland Prize. (Not in attendance at the event.)

Charlotte Slivka

, a poet and nonfiction writer, is at work on a hybrid memoir of which her Bette Howland Prize–winning essay, "March 12," is a part. Her poem "Above Ground" is forthcoming from Ohm Journal. "March 12" was selected by Deborah Levy for the 2022 Bette Howland Prize.

Na Zhong

is a fiction writer based in New York. A 2021-2022 Center for Fiction Emerging Writer Fellow, she has published with Guernica, Carve, A Public Space, and Lit Hub, among others. She is also a 2021 alumna of the Tin House Summer Workshop, a 2023 Periplus finalist, and a 2020 and 2021 Pushcart nominee. Her essay "My Mother's Fiction" was selected by Amitava Kumar for the 2018 Bette Howland Prize.

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