Meet the Winners of the 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Awards

Women writers in the early stages of their writing careers have a friend in the Rona Jaffe Foundation.

The New York City-based foundation, named after the author of 16 books, including the 1958 best-selling novel, The Best of Everythinghas been awarding $30,000 grants to women writers of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry since 1995 through its Writers' Award program. The foundation acknowledges the unique challenges faced by female writers, and so grants aim to make writing time available for recipients by paying for expenses such as child care, research, and related travel costs. It has awarded over $2 million to date.

The foundation recently announced the six winners of the 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Awards, and it's a stylistically diverse lot. Recipients include:

  • Meehan Crist, who is working on a nonfiction book that blends memoir and neuroscience. 
  • Vanessa Hua, whose novel A River of Stars examines the travails of a pregnant Chinese woman who travels to America to give birth. 
  • Amanda Rea, whose fictional work explores the poor and disenfranchised in the American West. 
  • Natalie Haney Tilghman, whose upcoming novel, Home Remedies, is inspired by her Italian-American great-grandfather who endured German occupation during World War II. 
  • Ashely M. Jones, whose first collection of poetry, Magic City Gospel, looks at current social issues pertaining to history, identity, religion, race and gender, from the perspective of a black female poet from Alabama. 
  • Britteney Black Rose Kapri, whose first poetry chapbook, Winona and Winthrop, explores race, gang membership, and family dynamics in Chicago.

The foundation does not accept unsolicited applications, however. According to its site, nominations are solicited from writers, editors, critics, and other literary professionals who are "likely to encounter women writers of unusual talent." The foundation then convenes a selection committee to select the winners.

Click here for a quick look at one of last year's Writers' Award winners, Danielle Jones-Pruett, who planned to use the $30,000 prize to conduct research for a book of poetry examining Monsanto's decades-long pollution and cover-up in the Anniston, Alabama area.