Announcing the winners of the 2021 Whiting Awards.
This evening, in a virtual ceremony, the Whiting Foundation announced the recipients of its 2021 Whiting Awards, which seek to “recognize excellence and promise in a spectrum of emerging talent.” These ten writers, working in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, will each be awarded $50,000, prize money that the Whiting Foundation hopes will allow them to “devote themselves full-time to their own writing or to take bold new risks in their work.” Past Whiting Award winners include Colson Whitehead, Anne Boyer, Ocean Vuong, Mary Karr, Lydia Davis, Layli Long Soldier, Denis Johnson, Terrance Hayes, Ling Ma, Sigrid Nunez, and many others.
“In a year of singular difficulty, these writers accessed joy, honoring past voices in their own family histories, and in the culture,” said Courtney Hodell, Director of Literary Programs, in a press release. “To a striking degree, they move fluidly across restrictive genre borderlines to create a vibrant picture of new writing in this country.”
The 2021 Whiting Award winners are:
Steven Dunn, author of Potted Meat (Fiction)
Tope Folarin, author of A Particular Kind of Black Man (Fiction)
Joshua Bennett, author of Being Property Once Myself (Nonfiction and Poetry)
Sarah Stewart Johnson, author of The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World (Nonfiction)
Marwa Helal, author of Invasive species (Poetry)
Ladan Osman, author of Exiles of Eden (Poetry)
Xandria Phillips, author of Hull (Poetry)
Jordan E. Cooper, author of Black Boy Fly (Drama)
Donnetta Lavinia Grays, author of Where We Stand (Drama)
Sylvia Khoury, author of Selling Kabul (Drama)