2017 Winners

Past Recipients

News from Past Award Winners


Recent News

VANESSA HUA's (RJF '15) debut novel, A River of Stars, has just been published by Ballantine (August 2018).




ALEXANDRIA MARZANO-LESNEVICH's (RJF '10) debut memoir, The Fact of a Body (Flatiron, 2017), received the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir and the 2018 Chautauqua Prize.



Photo by Nina Subin



KIRSTIN VALDEZ QUADE (RJF '13) received a 2018-19 Rome Prize from The American Academy in Rome.


Photo by Maggie Shipstead



ELIF BATUMAN's (RJF '07) debut novel, The Idiot (Penguin, 2017), was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in fiction.





APRICOT IRVING's (RJF '11) debut, The Gospel of Trees, was published by Simon & Schuster (March 2018).


LADEE HUBBARD (RJF '16) has received the 2017 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for her debut novel, The Talented Ribkins (Melville House, August 2017).



Photo by Vilma Samulionye



INARA VERZEMNIEKS's (RJF '12) debut memoir, Among the Living and the Dead, was published by W.W. Norton (July 2017).




OLIVIA CLARE's (RJF '14) debut story collection, Disasters in the First World, was just released by Grove/Atlantic (June 2017).




LISA RUSS SPAAR's (RJF '00) latest collection of poetry, Orexia, was published earlier this year by Persea Books.



Photo by Jen Fariello



TRACY K. SMITH (RJF'04) has been named the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States.


Photo by Star Black



JENNIFER GROTZ (RJF '07) has been named the next director of the Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers' Conferences. She is the first woman to lead the program since its founding in 1926.




AIREA D. MATTHEWS's (RJF '16) debut poetry collection, Simulacra (Yale University Press, 2017), received the 2016 Yale Younger Poets Prize.




VIEVEE FRANCIS (RJF '09) received the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for her third collection, Forest Primeval (Northwestern University Press, 2016).



photo by Eli Burakian



ASHLEY M. JONES's (RJF '15) debut poetry collection, Magic City Gospel, (Hub City Press) was published in January 2017.




VANESSA HUA's (RJF '15) debut story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities, was published by Willow Publishing in December 2016. It received the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature.




JANICE HARRINGTON's (RJF '09) third poetry collection, Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin, was just released by BOA Editions (October, 2016).



photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths



KRISTIN DOMBEK's (RJF '12) The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on The Fear of Nacissism debuted in August from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.





SOLMAZ SHARIF's (RJF '14) debut poetry collection, Look, (Graywolf Press) was a 2016 National Book Award finalist and named to The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016.


Photo by Arash Saedinia



RIVKA GALCHEN's third book, the miscellany Little Labors, was published by New Directions in May 2016.




HELEN PHILLIPS's (RJF '09) short story collection Some Possible Solutions was just released by Henry Holt (May 2016). Her debut novel, The Beautiful Bureaucrat, was published last year (Henry Holt, 2015) and selected for The New York Times100 Notable Books of 2015.





HASANTHIKA SIRISENA's (RJF '08) debut, The Other One, won the 2015 Juniper Prize for Fiction. The short story collection was published by University of Massachusetts Press in spring 2016.







Helen Phillips                  Kirstin Valdez Quade

                                                   Photo by Maggie Shipstead          


KIRSTIN VALDEZ QUADE's (RJF '13) debut, a collection of stories entitled Night at the Fiestas (W.W. Norton, 2015), received the John Leonard First Book Prize from the National Book Critics Circle. It was also selected for The New York Times100 Notable Books of 2015.




RITA MAE REESE's (RJF '06) second book of poetry, The Book of Hulga, (University of Wisconsin Press, March 2016), was selected by Denise Duhamel for the Felix Pollak Prize. 




LORI OSTLUND's (RJF '09) debut novel, After the Parade (Scribner, 2015), was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and shortlisted for the 2015 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her first book, The Bigness of the World, was reissued by Scribner in February 2016.




LAUREN GOODWIN SLAUGHTER's (RJF '12) first poetry collection, a lesson in smallness (The National Poetry Review Press), was published in September 2015.




KAREN E. BENDER's (RJF '97) story collection Refund (Soft Skull/Counterpoint Press) has been named to the longlist for the 2015 National Book Award for Fiction.




NAMWALI SERPELL (RJF '11) received the 2015 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story "The Sack."


Photo by Peg Skorpinski



CHRISTINA NICHOL's (RJF '12) debut novel, Waiting for the Electricity (The Overlook Press, 2014), was awarded the 2015 Gold Medal for First Fiction by The California Book Awards.





ASALI SOLOMON's (RJF '05) first novel, Disgruntled (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), debuted in February 2015.


                                                        Photo by Ron Nichols


OLENA KALYTIAK DAVIS's (RJF '96) most recent collection, The Poem She Didn't Write And Other Poems, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2014.




MERRITT TIERCE (RJF '11) was selected as a 2013 5 Under 35 honoree by the National Book Foundation. Her first novel, Love Me Back, was published by Doubleday (2014).



Photo by Michael Lionstar



SARA ELIZA JOHNSON's (RJF '10) first collection of poetry, Bone Map, was published by Milkweed Editions (2014). It was a 2013 National Poetry Series Winner.






RIVKA GALCHEN's (RJF '06) short story collection, American Innovations, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux (2014).



Photo by Sandy Tait




KRISTA BREMER's (RJF '09) debut, a memoir entitled My Accidental Jihad, was published by Algonquin Books in 2014.



Photo by Briana Brough



JODY BOLZ's (RJF '98) latest book, Shadow Play, is a novella in verse published by Turning Point Books (2013).





MARY SZYBIST (RJF '96) received the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry for her collection, Incarnadine (Graywolf Press).



Photo by Joni Kabana



HANNAH DELA CRUZ ABRAMS (RJF '10) received a 2013 Whiting Writer's Award. She is working on a memoir, The Following Sea.




JOANNE DOMINIQUE DWYER (RJF '08) published her first collection of poetry, Belle Laide, with Sarabande Books in 2013. It received the American Poetry Review's Jerome J. Shestack Prize.


AVERILL CURDY's (RJF '05) debut poetry collection, Song & Error, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in March.


Photo by Patty Michels


HOLLY GODDARD JONES's (RJF '07) first novel, The Next Time You See Me, was published in February 2013 by Touchstone. Her debut, Girl Trouble: Stories, appeared from Harper Perennial in 2009.



LISA RUSS SPAAR's (RJF '00) fourth poetry collection, Vanitas, Rough, was released in February 2013 by Persea Books.


                                                     photo: Jen Fariello

HEIDY STEIDLMAYER (RJF '09) won the 2013 $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award for her poetry collection, Fowling Piece (Triquarterly Books, 2011). She also received Ploughshares'  2012 John C. Zacharis First Book Award.


SHARIFA RHODES-PITTS (RJF '06) receives a 2012 Whiting Writer's Award. Her first book, Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America (Little, Brown & Company), was a finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Awards.


                                                                            Photo by Francois Halard    


TRACY K. SMITH (RJF '04) received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her third collection, Life on Mars, published by Graywolf Press.



JANICE N. HARRINGTON's (RJF '09) second collection of poems, The Hands of Strangers: Poems from the Nursing Home, was published in October 2011 by BOA Editions.

photo by Rachel Eliza Griffith


GLEN CHAMBERLIN (RJF '01) published her first book this September, a collection of stories called Conjugations of the Verb "To Be" (Delphinium).



HELEN PHILLIPS's (RJF '09) debut story collection, And Yet They Were Happy, was published by Leapfrog Press in 2011.


photo by Lee Hovey King


SARAH BRAUNSTEIN’s (RJF '07) first novel, The Sweet Relief of Missing Children (W.W. Norton), was published in 2011. She was among the 2010 "5 Under 30" fiction writers honored by the National Book Foundation.


VIEVEE FRANCIS (RJF '09) received the 2010 Caven Canem Northwestern Poetry Prize for her collection Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press, 2011.)

KATHLEEN GRABER  (RJF '03) and ELIF BATUMAN (RJF '07) were among the finalists for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Awards. Graber’s second collection, The Eternal City (Princeton, 2010), was selected for poetry and Batuman’s The Possessed (FSG, 2010) for criticism.

RITA MAE REESE's (RJF '06) debut collection of poems, The Alphabet Conspiracy (Arktoi Books) was published in 2011.


JENNIE ERIN SMITH's (RJF '01) first book, Stolen World: A Tale of Reptiles, Smugglers, and Skulduggery, was published by Crown in 2011.






Three past Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Awards winners Elif Batuman ('07), Amy Leach ('08) and LB Thompson ('02) received 2010 Whiting Writers' Awards. Elif Batuman is the author of The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them (FSG, 2010). Amy Leach is working on a collection of essays, Things That Are, which is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in spring 2012. LB Thompson has completed a collection of poems, The Dark Skirt of the Universe, and is working on a novel and a book of essays.


Elif Batuman                 Amy Leach                         LB Thompson

Photo: Mikhail Lemkhin



Sarah Braunstein's (RJF Award '07) first novel, The Sweet Relief of Missing Children, was published by W.W. Norton in 2011. Tiphanie Yanique received a 2010 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award. Her first book,  How to Escape from a Leper Colony, was published by Graywolf in 2010.


Sarah Braunstein                Tiphanie Yanique

                                                                       Photo: Moses Djeli

More News

EULA BISS's (RJF Award '02) recent collection Notes From No Man’s Land: American Essays received the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award.

ADRIAN BLEVINS (RJF Award '02) published her second poetry collection, Live from the Homesick Jamboree (Wesleyan University Press, 2009).

GABRIELLE CALVOCORESSI’s (RJF Award '02) second collection, Apocalyptic Swing, was published by Persea Books in 2009.

LAN SAMANTHA CHANG (RJF Award '98) has published her third novel, All is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost (W.W. Norton, 2010). She is Director of The Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Photo: Miranda Meyer


CARIN CLEVIDENCE’s (RJF Award '04) first novel, The House on Salt Hay Road, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2010.

ROBIN EKISS (RJF Award '07) published her first collection of poems, The Mansion of Happiness (The University of Georgia Press, VQR Poetry Series) in 2009.


Photo: Matt Schumaker


RIVKA GALCHEN's (RJF Award '06) first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances (FSG, 2008), was listed as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2008 by The New York Times. She was named to The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 list of fiction writers in 2010.

KATHLEEN GRABER's (RJF Award '03) second poetry collection, The Eternal City (2010), was chosen to relaunch the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets and recently named a 2010 National Book Award Poetry Finalist.

FRANCES HWANG (RJF Award '05), author of  Transparency: Stories (Back Bay Books, 2007), received a 2008 PEN Beyond Margins Award and the 2008 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

JOANNA KLINK (RJF Award '03) published her third book of poems, Raptus (Penguin, 2010).

ARYN KYLE’s (RJF Award '05) collection of stories, Boys and Girls Like You and Me, was published by Scribner in 2010. Her first novel, The God of Animals (Scribner, 2007), was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a New York Times best seller.

JOANIE MACKOWSKI's (RJF Award '00) second collection of poems, View from a Temporary Window, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2010.

CONSTANCE MERRITT (RJF Award '01) published her third book of poems, Two Rooms (Louisiana State University Press, 2009).

ZZ PACKER (RJF Award '97), author of   Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (Riverhead Trade, 2004), was named to The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 list of fiction writers in 2010.

LADETTE RANDOLPH's (RJF Award '02) first novel, A Sandhills Ballad, was published in 2009 by the University of New Mexico Press. She was recently named editor-in-chief of Ploughshares.

MELISSA RANGE’s (RJF Award '06) first collection of poetry, Horse and Rider, is the winner of Texas Tech University Press’s Walt McDonald First Book Prize and was published in 2010.

Photo: Claire McQuerry


CATIE ROSEMURGY (RJF Award '01) published her second book of poems, The Stranger Manual (Graywolf Press, 2009).

JULIA WHITTY's (RJF Award '03) second book, The Fragile Edge: Diving and Other Adventures in the South Pacific (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), received the PEN Literary Award, John Burroughs Medal, Kiriyama Prize, Northern California Book Award, and was a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Her third book, Deep Ocean Blue: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2010.

Photo: Sharon Urquhart