Today, Haymarket Books announced a new fellowship aimed at supporting and uplifting writers impacted by the criminal legal system. The Writing Freedom Fellowship will grant 20 writers in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction “a significant unrestricted award based upon their existing body of work” as well as “one year of support through mentorship, professional development, and shared learning with writers in their cohort.”
“The Fellowship seeks to foster writers’ creative practices and build community against the backdrop of a system that is premised on punishment and designed to isolate and often silence personal expression,” said Haymarket in a press release. The fellowship will support writers who have been directly or indirectly impacted by the U.S. criminal legal system; their work does not need to address the system to be considered. Hanif Abdurraqib, Lawrence Bartley, Mahogany L. Browne, Natalie Diaz, Tayari Jones, Rachel Kushner, Romarilyn Ralston, Andrea Ritchie, and Christopher Soto will serve as an advisory board.
“Writing is one of the most ancient art forms—and everyone has a story to tell,” said Romarilyn Ralston, advisory board member and Executive Director of Project Rebound, in a press release. “However, many writers, poets, and truth tellers are silenced, incapacitated, and unsupported. Warehoused in prisons like old books on a dusty library shelf. The Writing Freedom Fellowship offers people with an incarceration experience and system-impacted individuals the social and financial capital needed to transform their words into masterpieces.”
The first cohort of Writing Freedom Fellows will be announced this fall. Find out more here.