April 5, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 26, 2016) — The Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant, which is run by The Loft Literary Center (loft.org), has awarded grants to five emerging writers in five genre categories.
The Loft provides Minnesota writers with financial support and professional assistance to develop and implement multifaceted plans to further their artistic careers. The Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant program is made possible by the generous support of the Jerome Foundation and Loft members.
The Loft received 228 qualified entries to the 2017 Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant competition. Applications were reviewed by a panel of four teaching artists from Voices of Our Nation (VONA), the only multi-genre workshop for writers of color in the nation, bringing writers of color from the margins to a community where their work is centralized and honored. The panel narrowed the field down to 17 finalists. From those 17, they selected five writers who will each receive $8,000 awards as well as two alternates. The remaining finalists are listed as honorable mentions.
Grants were awarded to:
  • multigenre writer Amy Fladeboe of Minneapolis
  • creative prose writer Elly Zaragoza of Mankato
  • fiction writer Erin Kate Ryan of Minneapolis
  • creative prose writer Mike Kubista of Mankato
  • poet Su Hwang of Minneapolis

First and second alternates were poet Anaïs Deal-Marquez (Minneapolis) and creative prose writer Ryan Berg (Minneapolis).

Honorable mentions went to Cheri Johnson (multigenre, Minneapolis), Christina Schmid (creative prose, Minneapolis), Christopher Vaughan (poetry, Minneapolis), Hilal Isler (Saint Paul, creative prose), Jennifer Murray (Saint Paul, Creative Prose), Junauda Petrus (multigenre, Minneapolis), Rebecca Frost (multigenre, Minneapolis), Taylor Seaberg (multigenre, Saint Paul), Thomas Kevin O’Rourke (poetry, Minneapolis), and Timothy Hennum (fiction, Minneapolis).

Amy Fladeboe will be using the grant year to revise her first novel with the working title Boys Not Yet Men and hopes to find publication opportunities upon completion.
Fladeboe received her M.F.A. in creative writing from MSU-Mankato. The inspiration for her first novel came from her service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Albania from 2008-2010. She lives in Minneapolis and teaches creative writing at Century College.

Erin Kate Ryan will use the grant year to complete a draft of her novel about a college sophomore who went missing in 1946 and to work on a craft article about the constantly renewing tradition of missing girls in fiction.
Ryan makes things up. Her fiction has appeared in or is forthcoming from several real and imaginary publications. She’s a 2016 Minnesota State Arts Board grantee and an utter disaster at pub trivia, probably because she likes ideas more than facts.

Elly Zaragoza will use the grant year to travel to Texas to complete the research and writing of her novel inspired by the nation’s deadliest smuggling attempt, a 2003 tragedy that claimed the lives of 19 undocumented immigrants.
Zaragoza is the author of Ed’s Pump and Dump, a to-be-published novel set in the Midwest, several short stories and essays, and currently is at work on her second book, inspired by the 2003 tragedy that claimed the lives of 19 undocumented immigrants. She has bachelor’s degree from Macalester College, a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and lives in Mankato, Minnesota.

Mike Kubista will use this grant to pay rent and buy food while he fully devotes himself to completing and publishing his war memoir.
Kubista is a nonfiction and fiction writer from Owatonna, Minn. He was a Marine MP in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. When he came home in 2004, he wanted to tell his story, but realized that he didn’t have the writing skill or self-comprehension to tell it in the way it deserved to be told. For the last ten years, Mike has worked on his skill as a writer and thrown himself in situations that would help him better understand how and why people act the way they do. Now Mike is writing his story.

Su Hwang will revise then seek publication for Bodega, her debut poetry collection that examines issues of race, class, and the immigrant experience through a coming-of-age story. She will also begin work on a full draft of her second collection, Cerigo.
Hwang is a poet currently living in Minneapolis. Born in Seoul, South Korea, she grew up in New York then lived in San Francisco before moving to the Twin Cities to attend the University of Minnesota, where she received her MFA in Poetry. She is the recipient of the Michael Dennis Browne Fellowship in Poetry in 2015, and the Academy of American Poets James Wright Prize in 2014 and 2015. Her work has appeared in Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland by Ice Cube Press, Iowa City, IA, Ninth Letter, and Poets.org.

The four judge panel came from Voices of our Nation/VONA (http://www.voicesatvona.org). Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA) was founded by Elmaz Abinader, Junot Díaz, Victor Díaz and Diem Jones in 1999. Each envisioned an arts organization that could change the landscape for writers of color by supporting individual writer growth, creating a platform for community engagement and providing a workshop and mentor focus to expand writing opportunities. Over 2,000 writers from around the globe have participated in VONA.

Samuel Autman teaches at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. His work has appeared in The Chalk Circle: Prizewinning Intercultural Essays, Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call, Ninth Letter, The Common Reader, Under the Gum Tree, The Little Patuxent Review and Brevity. He can be reached at www.samuelautman.com

Andrew X. Pham is the author of Catfish and Mandala and The Eaves of Heaven. He is also the translator of Last Night I Dreamed of Peace. He is a Whiting Writer and a Guggenheim Fellow. He is the winner of the Kiriyama Prize and a NBCC Award Finalist. His books have been on eight Top Ten Books of the Year lists. He is an independent writer, journalist, culinary professional, aerospace engineer, and dreamer.

Clare Ramsaran holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco, is a blogger at Mixed Remixed, and an alumna of the VONA Voices writing workshop. She is working on a novel about two Indo-Caribbean brothers who join other immigrants to London in the 1950s, and their pursuit of love (of the inter-racial and queer varieties) — and justice. Her writing has been published in anthologies and journals in Europe and the US.

Derrick Weston Brown has an MFA in Creative Writing from American University and is a graduate of the Cave Canem Summer and VONA summer workshops.  He’s been published in such journals as, Warpland, Mythium, JoINT, Tidal Basin Review, and Little Patuxent Review.  His first full-length collection of poetry entitled Wisdom Teeth was released in 2011 on PM Press.

Incorporated in 1975, The Loft Literary Center is one of the nation’s leading independent literary centers. The Loft advances the artistic development of writers, fosters a thriving literary community, and inspires a passion for literature.

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