The 2019 A Public Space Fellows

News February 27, 2019

For us, there's something special that truly signals that spring is around the corner: the announcement each year of our new class of Fellows.

The selection of the Fellows from among more than 1,000 applications is a renewal—a renewal of the bighearted courage of new writers as they take the next steps in their careers, and of our own mission to support these writers who are just starting out. As Leslie Jamison said of hearing the news A Public Space would publish her first-ever accepted story in 2007: "I was sitting in my cubicle at a temp job I hated in Midtown, feeling very far away from being a writer in any sense of the word... so stunned and thrilled that someone believed in what I'd done."

With all the budding enthusiasm of the upcoming spring, we are thrilled to announce the class of 2019 A Public Space Fellows, which this year expands to include four writers:

Vicki Madden is a New York City teacher who combines memoir with research-based American history. She has a BA and MA from Columbia University and an MFA from Queens University. Her work has appeared in the New York Times.

I’m hopeful that the APS Fellowship will provide support and mentoring from an editorial staff I respect and can rely on in the face of the ever-present doubt I experience with my writing, as well as new connections with other writers. I’m excited!

Mihret M. Sibhat was born and raised in a small town in southwestern Ethiopia. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

As an unpublished immigrant writer not surrounded by people invested in the themes and geographies I’m most interested in, sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself. Or screaming into the wilderness. Being awarded an A Public Space Fellowship is an encouraging (and surreal!) reminder that there are people out there who would like to connect with me through the stories I write.

Sylvan Thomson is from Nelson, New Zealand. He holds an MA from the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington; and an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers' Program at the University of Michigan.

The story I plan to prepare for publication with A Public Space is important to me and one I have been working on for a long time but I've never felt like it was entirely finished, or expressed exactly what I wanted it to. With this editorial support I'm hoping to finally get my story to that place, and I am very excited about working alongside a professional editor.

Kyle Francis Williams lives in New York. He graduated from Brooklyn College and was born on Long Island.

This means a huge deal to me. It feels like I've spent a long time having no one care at all about my writing, and to have the magazine that I earnestly think does the best work in the literary world right now extend a hand is really extraordinary. I feel very seen.

To read the finished stories from our 2018 Fellows—Bruna Dantas Lobato, Deborah Taffa, and LaToya Watkins—order your copy of APS No. 27.

We are also pleased to highlight the winner of the 2018 Bette Howland Nonfiction Prize, Na Zhong. The prize, given annually to a graduating nonfiction student at the New School in New York City, was established by Honor Moore. Read an excerpt from "My Mother's Fiction" here.

While this announcement marks the beginning of the Fellowships, it's also the end of nearly six months of work by our dedicated team of readers. They read, they ruminated, and they spent many winter hours with the work of our applicants, the turning of the pages as soft as snow. Thank you to: Melissa Ragsly, Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, Rebecca Chekouras, Valentina Concha-Toro, Sidik Fofana, Jessica Holburn, Joseph Holt, Heather Wells Peterson, Kate Silzer, Tessa Solomon, Eva Speer, and Caroline Wray.


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A Public Space is an independent, non-profit publisher of the award-winning literary and arts magazine; and A Public Space Books. Since 2006, under the direction of founding editor Brigid Hughes the mission of A Public Space has been to seek out and support overlooked and unclassifiable work.

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