Write A House is delighted to announce ten finalists for our groundbreaking writing residency, in which we renovate a formerly vacant home in Detroit and give it to one talented writer—for keeps. We will announce the winner on September 19 at a showcase event featuring the celebrated author Lauren Beukes, whose new novel, Broken Monsters, is set in this uniquely literary city. We will welcome the winning writer into their new house soon afterward. We received about 350 applications in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from all over the United States and abroad. Many of our best applicants came from right here in Detroit. There were many excellent and inspiring submissions, and if we could give a home to every talented writer who applied, we would. We expect to open applications for our next house in early 2015.
Finalists come from diverse backgrounds, personally and creatively. They were chosen foremost for the quality of their writing by judges Toby Barlow, Billy Collins, dream hampton, Major Jackson, Sean MacDonald, Michael Stone Richards, and Tamara Warren. Write A House’s application committee also vetted candidates for their ability to contribute to the neighborhood and the literary culture of Detroit. Each finalist also participated in video interviews with Write A House founders Toby Barlow and Sarah F. Cox.
Every one of them deserves your notice. We are excited about their writing, and we know you will be too.
Lydia Conklin East Sandwich, Massachusetts @LydiaConklin
Fiction. In his citation, judge Sean MacDonald wrote that Conklin’s submission “gets a lot right” and “conveys youth and love and energy.”
Lydia Conklin has received a Pushcart Prize, scholarships from Bread Loaf, fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Ucross, the James Merrill House, Millay, Jentel, the Vermont Studio Center, Brush Creek, Caldera, Sitka, and Harvard, and grants from the Astraea Foundation and the Puffin Foundation. Her fiction has appeared in The Southern Review, Narrative, New Letters, and elsewhere. She has drawn graphic fiction for Gulf Coast, Salt Hill, and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.
Matthew Fogarty Columbia, South Carolinawww.matthewfogarty.com @thatmattfogarty
Fiction. In his citation, judge Sean MacDonald described Fogarty’s work as “funny and unusual and kind of delicate and unexpected.”
Born and raised in Troy, Michigan, Matthew Fogarty currently lives and writes in Columbia, where he is an MFA candidate at the University of South Carolina and co-editor of the program's journal, Yemassee. He also edits Cartagena, a literary journal. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Passages North, PANK, Fourteen Hills, Smokelong Quarterly, and Midwestern Gothic.
Adam Morris San Francisco, California @adamjaymorris
Nonfiction. In her citation, judge Tamara Warren pointed out the interest of how Morris, in his submission, recases the work of the Peoples Temple, founded by cult leader Jim Jones, “as a political movement rather than a religious organization.”
Adam Morris is a writer and translator currently based in California. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Believer, Music & Literature, and The Buenos Aires Review. His translation of Hilda Hilst’s With My Dog-Eyes (April 2014) was supported by the Susan Sontag Foundation Prize for literary translation. Adam is working on his first nonfiction book.
Anne Elizabeth Moore Chicago, Illinois www.anneelizabethmoore.com http://ladydrawers.wordpress.com @superanne
Nonfiction. “In this smart, informative, and entertaining graphic work, the author deconstructs food, service, garment and waste industry labor and manufacturing practices,” wrote judge Tamara Warren in her citation.
Anne Elizabeth Moore was born in Winner, South Dakota. She writes a monthly comics journalism strip on gender, labor, and culture for Truthout called Ladydrawers, and cultural criticism for The Baffler, Salon, Al Jazeera, Jacobin, and others . She is the author of Unmarketable from the New Press (Best Book, Mother Jones)and, from Cantankerous Titles, New Girl Law and Cambodian Grrrl (Best Book, Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award). She is the founding editor of the Best American Comics and the former editor of The Comics Journal and Punk Planet. She is a Fulbright scholar, the recipient of a USC Annenberg Getty Arts Journalism Fellowship, and very good at cats.
Fiction. In his citation, judge Sean MacDonald says that Reynolds’ work “has a nice, lopey, almost goofy but still appealing storytelling style.”
Jason Reynolds is the author of, My Name is Jason. Mine Too. (Harper Collins), When I Was the Greatest (Simon & Schuster) and the upcoming novel, The Boy in the Black Suit (Simon & Schuster.) His mission is to write work that illuminates underrepresented communities, that entices reluctant readers, and that helps to bolster diversity in the literary world. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Casey Rocheteau Brooklyn, New York.
Poetry. “These are witty but deeply serious poems. The poet uses straightforward language and clear syntax to address some of the more frightening aspects of racism,” wrote judge Billy Collins in his citation.
Casey Rocheteau is a poet, historian and performing artist currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. Casey has attended Callaloo Writer’s Workshop, Cave Canem, and Breadloaf Writers' Conference. She’s released two albums on the Whitehaus Family Record, and her most recent book, Knocked Up On Yes was released on Sargent Press in 2012.
Aisha Sabatani Sloan Los Angeles, California www.aishasloan.com
Nonfiction. “This personal essay of strong, luminous prose explores the nature of belonging and isolation in a historically divided California,” wrote judge Tamara Warren in her citation.
Aisha’s essays have appeared in journals like Ninth Letter, The Southern Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review. Her essay collection, The Fluency of Light: Coming of Age in a Theater of Black and White, was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2013. She is a contributing editor for Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics, and teaches writing and yoga-- sometimes at the same time.
Valerie Vande Panne Detroit, Michigan @asktheduchess
Nonfiction. In her citation, judge dream hampton wrote that “I very much enjoyed following this writer's curiosities.”
Valerie Vande Panne is editor-in-chief of Detroit's Metro Times. Her work has appeared in The Boston Phoenix, The Daily Beast, and Salon, among other publications.
Darryl Lorenzo Wellington Santa Fe, New Mexico
Poetry. In his citation, judge Michael Stone Richards wrote: “Poetic language – and hopes – (show) through, above all in the poems dedicated to the writer’s role models or ‘heroes’: Samuel Delaney, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin.”
Darryl Lorenzo Wellington is a poet, playwright, teacher, performer, and freelance journalist whose writing focuses on the intersections of history, society, culture, and 21st century surrealism. His poetry has appeared in many journals, such as Asheville Poetry Review, The Distillery, Boston Review, Chiron Review, Drumvoices, Yemassee Journal, ABZ Magazine, Turtle Island Quarterly, Pedestal Magazine, Radius Magazine, Zephyr, and he is working on a collection entitled Dedications to Strangers and Lives.
Additionally, his cultural criticism has over the past fifteen years appeared in The Nation, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dissent, The Washington Post, Crisis Magazine and TheAtlantic.com. He is an editorial writer for The Progressive Media Project, and his cultural critique of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award “Reality Publishing” was included in the anthology MFA vs NYC, edited by Chad Harbach.
Monika Zobel Bremen, Germany @monikazobel
Poetry. “Nicely disjointed poems, dark themes, abrupt openings and stark images enliven these poems,” wrote judge Billy Collins in his citation.
Monika Zobel’s writing has appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Redivider, DIAGRAM, Beloit Poetry Journal, Mid-American Review, Guernica Magazine, West Branch, Best New Poets 2010, and elsewhere. Her book, An Instrument for Leaving, was selected by Dorothea Lasky for the 2013 Slope Editions Book Prize. A Senior Editor at The California Journal of Poetics and Fulbright alumna, Zobel currently lives in Bremen, Germany.