In recognition of the special contributions women writers make to our culture and society, The Rona Jaffe Foundation is celebrating its twenty-fifth year under a program that identifies and supports emergent women writers of exceptional talent and promise.
Celebrated author Rona Jaffe (1931-2005) established The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards program in 1995. It is the only national literary awards program of its kind dedicated to supporting women writers exclusively. Since the program began, the Foundation has awarded more than $2.5 million to emergent women writers. www.ronajaffefoundation.org.
Rachel Aviv ('10) is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where she often writes about medicine, criminal justice, and education. She was a 2019 New America fellow and a finalist for the 2018 National Magazine Award for Public Interest for a story about elderly people being stripped of their legal rights. She is working on a book about how psychiatric diagnostic language changes who people are expected to be and how they interact with institutions providing care. She was a 2010 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award winner.
Vanessa Hua ('15) is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of a novel, A River of Stars, and a short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities. For two decades, she has been writing about Asia and the diaspora. She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists’ Association. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. She works and teaches at the Writers Grotto in San Francisco.
Airea D. Matthews ('16) is the author of Simulacra, winner of the 2016 Yale Series of Younger Poets. Her work has appeared in Best American Poets, Callaloo, Harvard Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Tin House, and elsewhere. She was awarded a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, a Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a Kresge Literary Arts award as well as fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and The James Merrill House. One of Matthews's current projects includes a cross-genre book that explores politics, poverty, race and class. She is an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr College, a faculty member at Warren Wilson’s MFA program, and is a founding member of the Philadelphia-based Riven Collective, a multidisciplinary arts collaborative.
Eileen Pollack ('96) is the author, most recently, of the novels The Bible of Dirty Jokes, A Perfect Life, and Breaking and Entering, which was named a NY Times Editor’s Choice selection. Eileen’s work of creative nonfiction Woman Walking Ahead: In Search of Catherine Weldon and Sitting Bull, which was made possible by a grant from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, was made into a 2018 movie starring Jessica Chastain. Her investigative memoir The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys’ Club was published in 2015; a long excerpt appeared in the Times Sunday Magazine. Her new novel, The Professor of Immortality, is due out in October 2019.