Today, Chicago-based arts organization United States Artists announced their 50 2024 USA Fellows, a group that includes six Writing Fellows, each of whom will receive an unrestricted cash award of $50,000, intended to allow each writer “to deepen their respective practices and devote themselves rigorously to the art of writing.”
Here are the 2024 USA Writing Fellows, along with their bios:
Dantiel W. Moniz
Dantiel W. Moniz is the recipient of a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction, and fellowships from Yaddo, Lighthouse Works, MacDowell, among others. Moniz’s debut collection, Milk Blood Heat was a finalist for the PEN/ Jean Stein Book Award, the PEN/ Robert W. Bingham Prize, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and was longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and The Story Prize. Her writing has appeared in the Paris Review, Harper’s Bazaar, American Short Fiction, Tin House, and elsewhere. Moniz is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison where she teaches fiction.
Nafissa Thompson-Spires is the author of Heads of the Colored People, which won the PEN Open Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Award for Fiction, and The Los Angeles Times’ Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. Thompson-Spires’ collection was longlisted for the National Book Award, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award, and several other prizes including an NAACP Image Award. She is also the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award.
She earned a doctorate in English from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. With dark humor and covering topics from identity to chronic illness, her short fiction and essays have appeared in The Paris Review Daily, The Cut, The Root, The White Review, Ploughshares, 400 Souls: A Community History of African America 1619–2019, The 1619 Project, among other publications. In addition to a novel under contract with Scribner, she has new writing forthcoming in Fourteen Days: A Community Gathering, edited by Margaret Atwood.
Thompson–Spires is currently the Richards Family Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Cornell University, teaching both in the MFA and undergraduate programs.
Born in Lima, Peru to a Peruvian father and Syrian mother, and preemptively kidnapped to escape his father’s violence, Farid Matuk has lived in the US since the age of six as an undocumented person, then a “legal” resident, and eventually as a “naturalized” citizen. Matuk is the author of the poetry collections This Isa Nice Neighborhood and The Real Horse. Their poems have appeared in BOMB, The Brooklyn Rail, Lana Turner, The Paris Review, and Poetry, among others. Matuk’s work has been supported with residencies and grants from the Headlands Center for the Arts and with a Holloway Visiting Professorship at UC Berkeley. Redolent, their book-arts collaboration with artist Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez, won the 2023 Anna Rabinowitz Prize from the Poetry Society of America. Matuk’s translation of Peruvian poet Tilsa Otta’s The Hormone of Darkness is forthcoming in 2024 from Graywolf Press.
Jeffery U. Darensbourg
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana of Creole and Indigenous ancestry, Jeffery Darensbourg’s work explores culture and language in the lives of mixed-ethnicity people in Louisiana and the ways in which various categories, attitudes, and histories regionally intersect with his own life. He has published essays, zines, and poems and has had a play produced. He is known for his lecture performances and also as a regular guest on broadcasts and podcasts. He holds a PhD in cognitive science and is an advocate for Indigenous languages, especially Ishakkoy, and Indigenous place names, especially the original name for where he lives, Bulbancha (known to many as New Orleans). His recent work has focused on family trauma, mental illness, and the experience of passing (much of the time) for white. Darensbourg is an enrolled member of the Atakapa-Ishak Nation of Indians and a Fellow of the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Monica Ong is the author of Silent Anatomies (Kore Press). Ong’s work has been published in Poetry, Scientific American, The Asian American Literary Review, and is forthcoming in the anthology The Mouth Holds Many Things: A De-Canon Hybrid Lit Collection (Fonograf Editions). A Kundiman Poetry Fellow and graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Ong’s visual poetry innovates on text+image to surface hidden narratives of women and diaspora. Planetaria, her recent series of astronomy-inspired visual poems was exhibited at the Poetry Foundation (2022) and the Hunterdon Art Museum (2023). In 2021, Ong founded Proxima Vera, a micropress specializing in fine press visual poetry editions and literary art objects, many of which have been acquired by institutional collections and museums worldwide.
Danielle Evans is the author of the story collections The Office of Historical Corrections and Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self. Evans’ first collection won the PEN America Robert W. Bingham Prize, the Hurston-Wright Award for fiction, and the Paterson Prize for fiction. Her second won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and was a finalist for the Aspen Prize, The Story Prize, The Chautauqua Prize, and The Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction. She has been awarded the New Literary Project Joyce Carol Oates Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and was selected as one of the National Book Foundation’s annual 5 under 35. Evans’ stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies including Best American Short Stories. She is an Associate Professor in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.