Rona Jaffe award for emerging writers withdrawn

NEW YORK – A literary award that provided vital support to Tracy K. Smith, Eula Biss and more than 100 other women early in their writing careers has been canceled. Trustees of the Rona Jaffe Writers’ Awards cited the “significant” costs associated with running the program, which was founded in 1995.

“The Foundation’s Board of Directors believes we can use these funds to have an even greater impact by supporting vital literary, educational and cultural nonprofits that serve creative artists and the literary arts more holistically. as main missions, ”according to a recent article on the Jaffe. Foundation website.

Over the past quarter century, the Jaffe Foundation has awarded grants of up to $ 30,000 each to six or more women each year to give them more time to write. The awards were created by Rona Jaffe, a novelist who died in 2005.

Biss, known for her award-winning collection of “Notes from No Man’s Land” and other non-fiction essays, received a Jaffe grant in 2002. On Tuesday, she called it a “major turning point” in her career that brought her to life. allowed you to break a “cycle” of part-time jobs and focus on writing.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the Jaffe Award has changed my life. The fact that this award is specifically aimed at emerging women writers makes it particularly important, ”she told the AP.

One of the 1995 recipients, poet Erin Belieu, said “nothing was more important” to her early development as a writer than Jaffe’s award and “support and generosity”.

“She gave me the space and time just when I needed it to deepen my poetry, allowing me not to work three jobs in Boston simultaneously just to barely earn rent,” Belieu said. .

Hillel Italy, The Associated Press

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