Nicolette Polek (MFA '19) Wins 2019 Rona Jaffe Award

August 28, 2019

Nicolette Polek, who graduated from the MFA Program in May, has won a 2019 Rona Jaffe Award in fiction. This prestigous award is given annually to six women writers who are are in the early stages of their careers.

From the Foundation's website:

The only national literary awards program of its kind devoted exclusively to women, it was created to identify and support emergent women writers of exceptional promise in recognition of the special contributions women artists make to our culture. The awards program acknowledges the difficulties some of the most talented among them have in finding time to write and gaining recognition. The Foundation’s giving has increased from $45,000 to $240,000 annually. Now in its twenty-fifth year, the Foundation has awarded grants to 158 outstanding emergent women writers for a total of more than $2.5 million.

Each year, the recipients are chosen through a rigorous selection process conducted by a small committee of established writers, who serve anonymously. In recognition of our quarter century, the Awards have been increased to $40,000 each this year and will be presented to the six recipients at a private reception in New York City on September 12. Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson will be our guest speaker. On Friday, September 13 at 7 p.m. the winners will read in New York University’s Creative Writing Program Reading Series at the Lillian Vernon Writers House (58 West 10th Street).

Past recipients of the Writers’ Awards such as Rachel Aviv, Elif Batuman, Eula Biss, Lan Samantha Chang, Vievee Francis, Rivka Galchen, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, ZZ Packer, Helen Phillips, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Namwali Serpell, Solmaz Sharif, Tracy K. Smith, Mary Syzbist, and Tiphanie Yanique have since received wider critical recognition, including Poet Laureate of the United States, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lambda Literary Award, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, the Caine Prize for African Writing, the Rome Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and the Whiting Writer’s Award.

To learn more about Polek and the award, click here.