The Rona Jaffe Foundation identifies and supports emerging women writers of exceptional promise. The 2020 Rona Jaffe Writers' Award winners are Hannah Bae (nonfiction), Mari Christmas (fiction), Yalitza Ferreras (fiction), Temim Fruchter (fiction), Elisa Gonzalez (poetry), and Charleen McClure (poetry). Full bios and a Q&A with each author can be found here.
Hannah Bae is a Korean American freelance journalist and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her essays have appeared in Catapult, Slice Magazine, Bitch Media, Pigeon Pages, among other publications. She is the recipient of recent fellowships from The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and The Poynter Institute. She received her B.A. from the University of Miami. Her essay, “Survival Mode,” was published in the anthology, Don’t Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation About Mental Health (Algonquin, 2018).
Mari Christmas is an assistant professor at Allegheny College and splits her time between Idaho and Pennsylvania. She received her B.A. from Haverford College, her M.F.A. from the University of Notre Dame, and she has just completed her Ph.D. from SUNY Albany. Her fierce, darkly humorous, emotionally riveting work explores and embodies today’s world reflecting our deepest anxieties and the complexities of current-day feminism, motherhood, and modern love.
Yalitza Ferreras is a Dominican American writer who lives in San Francisco. Her stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Southern Review, Aster(ix) Journal, and The Colorado Review among other publications. Her story “The Letician Age” was selected for inclusion in the 2016 Best American Short Stories. She received her B.A. from Mills College and her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan. Ferreras has also received fellowships from Djerassi Residents Artists, Yaddo, Voices of Our Nations, and Tin House Writing Workshop. She also held the 2014-15 Steinbeck Fellowship from San Jose State University.
Temim Fruchter began her career as a musician and in 2013 turned her creative attention to writing. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Maryland in 2019. Her work has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Foglifter, NPR, Brevity, and PANK. In 2020 she received fiction awards from New South and American Literary Review as well as a fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. She says, “I feel a kind of urgency – the most excited and hungry kind – to finish this first book and launch it into the universe. My path has been non-linear, and, as such, I take the hard work and spiritual maintenance of building a writing life very seriously.”
Elisa Gonzalez received her B.A. from Yale University and her M.F.A from New York University. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Literary Review, Hyperallergic, and other publications. A Fulbright scholar in Poland from 2016-2018, Gonzalez has also held scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Her nominator writes: “Elisa is truly a thinking poet who values both clarity and doubt in her lines…. You feel the work constantly driving at something beyond the safe or easy thing to say, while also avoiding what is emotionally manipulative or overwrought. The poems are never glib or easy. They are brave, wild, precise, and honest.”
Charleen McClure, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, was born in London and raised in the suburbs of Atlanta. She earned her B.A. from Agnes Scott College, her M.A. in TESOL from Hunter College, and is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in poetry at New York University. A Fulbright scholar, she has received fellowships from The Conversation Literary Arts Festival, Cave Canem, Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and VONA. Her work has been published in The Offing, Poetry Project, Mosaic, Muzzle, and elsewhere.