MINNEAPOLIS (June 15, 2011) – Intermedia Arts this week announced the winners of the 2011 Beyond the Pure Fellowships for Writers (formerly the SASE/Jerome Grants for Writers). This year’s Beyond the Pure fellows were selected from 78 applicants, who were narrowed down to 18 finalists by community judges and program mentors Anya Achtenberg and David Mura. The five Beyond the Pure fellowship recipients were selected by a panel of previous grant winners.
The 2011 Beyond the Pure Fellowships for Writers recipients include: Lesley Arimah (fiction); Colleen Casey (poetry); John Lee Clark (poetry); Pallavi Sharma Dixit (fiction); and Jacqueline White (creative nonfiction).
Pallavi Sharma Dixit earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, where she was awarded the Harvey Swados Prize in Fiction. In 2010, she was the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant and a Travel and Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation, and in 2007 she was a recipient of the Loft’s Mentor Series Award.
Most recently, Dixit’s work has appeared in Fiction on a Stick: New Stories by Minnesota Writers and Her Mother’s Ashes 3: Stories from South Asian Women in Canada and the United States.
Lesley Arimah was born in the U.K. and resided in various countries (including her native Nigeria) before moving to the States in her early teens. She spent a decade in the South before moving northwards to earn an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato. A resident of Mankato, Lesley is currently working on her first novel.
Colleen Casey uses language and other arts to bring about positive transformation. As Morning Program Manager with the English Learning Center, in Minneapolis’s Phillips neighborhood, she leads a cadre of volunteer teachers to help adult immigrants build their voices in English and master other essential skills.
Casey has worked with Adult Basic Education and ESL in the Twin Cities for over a decade and, before that, cut her teeth in community arts administration and arts in education with the History Theatre and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater. She holds a BA in art history and is slowly completing an initial teacher license in English Language and Communication Arts.
She was raised in the Twin Cities area and is of European-American and Mdewakantan Dakota heritages. She is a member of the Loft-sponsored TGI Frybread.community writing group and was a mentee in the Loft’s Native Inroads writing mentorship in 2009.
John Lee Clark was born deaf and became blind in adolescence. His chapbook of poems is Suddenly Slow (Handtype Press, 2008) and he edited the anthology Deaf American Poetry (Gallaudet University Press, 2009). His poems have appeared in many publications, including The Hollins Critic, Poetry, and The Seneca Review.
He is married to the deaf cartoonist Adrean Clark, and they run a small press, Clerc Scar, dedicated to the literature of the signing community. They live with their three sons in Maplewood.
Jacqueline White Jacqueline White is a Minneapolis writer who has also worked as a waitress and as an activist striving to create respectful schools for all students, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.
She writes editorials for major media and has taught writing at a jail, a drop-in center for homeless youth, and at the Loft Literary Center. She earned a BA in English cum laude from Yale and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Antioch University-Los Angeles. She is currently at work on a memoir, for which she received a 2008 Minnesota State Arts Board grant.
The 2011 Beyond the Pure Fellowships for Writers finalists included: Molly van Avery (multi-genre); Kathryn Beynaud (fiction); Sierra Demulder (poetry); Katie Leo (creative nonfiction); Maggie Majewski (fiction); and Sun Yung Shin (poetry).
Intermedia Arts’ Beyond the Pure Fellowships for Writers (formerly the SASE Jerome Grants for Emerging Writers), is a fellowship program that awards grants of up to $4,000 to four to six emerging Minnesota writers each year. This program defines an emerging writer as a writer whose work demonstrates a sustained level of accomplishment and commitment, but who has not yet received widespread recognition from peers and/or industry as an established professional artist.
In addition to their grant award, recipients also participate in a 12-month fellowship program that provides community, mentorship, guidance, workshops, and resources throughout the program year. This fellowship program includes approximately 15-hours of required program activities, including a program orientation, four mentorship meetings, a program photoshoot, a final meeting, and a public literary reading. Fellows must commit to participating in all aspects of this program in order to receive their grant award.
Intermedia Arts’ Beyond the Pure Fellowships for Writers are made possible thanks to generous support from the Jerome Foundation.
Community judge David Mura is a poet, creative nonfiction writer, fiction writer, critic, playwright and performance artist. A Sansei (third generation) Japanese American, Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei (Grove-Atlantic), which won a 1991 Josephine Miles Book Award from the Oakland PEN and was listed in the New York Times Notable Books of Year, and Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality and Identity (1996, Anchor/Random).
Mura’s most recent work is the novel Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire (2008, Coffee House Press), a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the John Gardner Fiction Prize and Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award.
Community judge Anya Achtenberg is an award-winning fiction writer as well as poet, has seen her recently completed novel, Prairie Angel, excerpted in Harvard Review under the title More Than The Wind, and her novella The Stories of Devil-Girl published by Modern History Press as well as released on CD. Her second book of poetry, The Stone of Language, was published in 2004 by West End Press (Albuquerque) after being finalist in 5 poetry competitions.