2015 Awards to Deshpande, Bodwell, Kwak

2015 Awards to Deshpande, Bodwell, Kwak

We are pleased to present the winners of our 2015 Seminar Emerging Writer Awards:


Scotti Merrill Award
selected by Billy Collins

Jay Deshpande, winner of the 2015 Scotti Merrill Award. Photo by Jane Hu.

Merrill Award winner Jay Deshpande writes: “When I’m writing these days, what I’m most desirous of is that something be at stake. All that matters is that we are in danger. That’s what I want to write from. If I have faith in anything it is my faith I have something to lose.” Deshpande’s poems have appeared in Narrative, Sixth Finch, Atlas Review, Handsome, Boxcar Poetry Review, and elsewhere. His debut collection of poems, Love the Stranger, is forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2015. He lives in Brooklyn.


Marianne Russo Award

Joshua Bodwell, winner of the 2015 Marianne Russo Award. Photo by Irvin Serrano.

Russo Award winner Joshua Bodwell is the executive director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance and sits on the Maine Arts Commission. As a regular contributor to Poets & Writers, Bodwell has written profiles of Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford, National Book Award winner John Casey, and New York Times bestseller Andre Dubus III. He is a contributing editor at the online journal Fiction Writers Review, and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in magazines and quarterlies such as Ambit (London), Glimmer Train’s Writer’s Ask, Threepenny Review, and Slice. His journalism has garnered awards from the Maine and New England press associations. He has lectured extensively in schools and universities and served three stints as writer-in-residence at Dulwich College in London. His website is joshuabodwell.com.


Cecelia Joyce Horton Johnson Fiction Award

2015 Cecelia Joyce Horton Johnson Fiction Award winner Chaney Kwak.

Johnson Fiction Award winner Chaney Kwak’s writing appears in Zyzzyva, Condé Nast Traveler, The Washington Post, National Geographic books, Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and other publications. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and residencies from Wildacres and the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts. He has won a special mention from The Pushcart Prize for his fiction, and is working on a novel.

About our Awards:

The Scotti Merrill Award, Marianne Russo Award, and Cecelia Joyce Horton Johnson Fiction Award recognize three emerging writers of exceptional merit each year. Winners receive full tuition to the seminar and writers’ workshop program, round-trip airfare, seven nights’ lodging, financial support for living expenses while in Key West, and the opportunity to appear on stage during the seminar. Past recipients include Patricia Engel, Nami Mun, and Kristen-Paige Madonia.

These awards are the legacies of the remarkable individuals for whom they are named; and a testament to the generosity of the patrons whose gifts will support them into the future. We are grateful to Holly Merrill and the Dogwood Foundation, to Peyton Evans, and to Cecelia Joyce Horton Johnson for providing the funds which allow us to recognize and support these dynamic writers.

More information about our Scholarship Program here.

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