Whiting Awards

Since 1985, the Foundation has supported creative writing through the Whiting Awards, which are given annually to ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.

News & Reviews

“Ars Poetica with Bacon” by Terrance Hayes

“Which parts of your body have never been touched,/ I wanted to ask,” wonders Hayes’s narrator, in a poem for The New Yorker about how one family’s dinner illuminates a truth of human nature.

ABC Australia interviews Jonathan Franzen

Franzen talks about Freud, writing mother characters, and why, when it comes to writing based on personal experience, “your own life is not the stuff of fiction.”

“A Few Things About My Mother: Sarah Ruhl Interviews Kathleen Ruhl”

For American Theatre magazine, Ruhl interviews her mother, an actor who played Peter Pan in her youth and the inspiration behind her latest play.

C. E. Morgan in conversation with Lisa Lucas

For Farrar, Straus & Giroux’s “Work in Progress” series, Morgan discusses why she doesn’t think of herself as a Southern writer and how to “protect what’s most precious in a world that wants everything.” 

“One Hundred Amazing Facts About the Negro, with Complete Proof, II” by Safiya Sinclair

“Neighbour,/ I am naming you damned,” laments the narrator in Sinclair’s new poem for The Kenyon Review.

Catherine Lacey in conversation with Jesse Ball

On BOMB magazine, Lacey and fellow writer Jesse Ball devise strategies, including becoming “transcendentalist reporters,” for interviewing each other.

Mitchell S. Jackson wins the Just READ Award

Presented by the NAACP and NYCHA, the award honors an author who has “changed the game through writing.”

“Why Does Being a Man Require So Many Masks?” by Terrance Hayes

For Yes! Magazine, Hayes reflects, from the perspective of a father, on the narrow American definition of masculinity.

“The Suit That Couldn’t Be Copied” by Akhil Sharma 

In The New Yorker, Sharma hires a tailor in attempt to replicate the lavish, “controlling intelligence” of clothing made by British designer Davide Taub. 

“All the Letters in Lisbon Spell ‘Saudade’” by Eduardo C. Corral

“Some days, when I catch my reflection in a mirror,/ I think, Someone has hurt this animal,” muses Corral in a new poem for the 92nd Street Y's "Words We Live In" series.

“The Sliding Door” by Jess Row

Row’s eleven-year-old narrator has a late night conversation with a talking owl, in new fiction for N+1.

Angels in America: The Complete Oral History"

On the 25th anniversary of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Slate dissects why the play is "as crucial as ever." 

“The Son”

An estimated 69,000 people have been killed in Peru's internal conflict. On Radio Ambulante, Daniel Alarcón talks to the son of two of them.

“Translating Poetry, Translating Blackness” by John Keene

On Poetry Foundation, John Keene makes the case for more translations of black authors into English, arguing that “the more voices we open our ears to, read and hear – the less likely we are to misunderstand.”

Hyperallergic reviews Olio by Tyehimba Jess

Hyperallergic writes that Jess’s “profound” collection “takes up the challenge of writing about the history of black musical performance in the US, dwells in it, breaks it apart, rearranges it — and encourages us to do the same.”

Alan Heathcock receives a 2017 Idaho Commission on the Arts Fellowship

Heathcock won the $5,000 award, given every three years as a reward for “talent, creativity, and perseverance,” for a second time. 

TheaterMania reviews The Healing by Samuel D. Hunter

TheaterMania declares that Hunter’s latest play, an exploration of the effects of religious camp on a group of adult friends, “elevates his genre to new levels of emotional heights.”

Melissa James Gibson is the new showrunner for House of Cards

Gibson, who was formerly a senior writer for House of Cards, will share showrunner duties with fellow writer Frank Pugliese for the Netflix drama's fifth season. 

Cave Canem interviews Tyehimba Jess

Jess tells Cave Canem why “listening is an essential part of writing a good poem” and discusses his influences outside of literature and art. 

The Rumpus interviews Brian Blanchfield

Blanchfield reveals his “life-writing heroes” and why he believes good essays “counter the culture of ever-available wiki knowledge.”

The Guardian reviews String Theory by David Foster Wallace

The Guardian praises the collection of tennis writing for its ability to make technicalities interesting, deeming Wallace “the best writer on the game ever.”

“Cathedrals of the Air: Sister Aimee, Fighting Bob, and Early L.A. Radio” by D. J. Waldie

Waldie chronicles the history of 1920s radio preachers who created space where anyone could worship

“Torso of Air” by Ocean Vuong

In T Magazine, Vuong responds to Rainer Maria Rilke’s famous call “You must change your life” by reflecting, “Suppose you do change your life./ & the body is more than/ a portion of night.” 

Speakeasy podcast interviews Victor LaValle

LaValle, along with fellow writers Laird Barron and Paul Tremblay, talks to The Wall Street Journal podcast about Lovecraft’s racism and real-life horror. 

Publications & Productions

She She She by Virginia Grise

In Grise's latest work, two struggling strangers from different eras serendipitously meet to give each other the strength to survive. She She She uses poetry and visual art to amplify the voices of queer women across time and place. 

Notes on Glaze by Wayne Koestenbaum

In the spring of 2010, Cabinet magazine invited Koestenbaum to begin writing a column in which he would write one or more extended captions for a single photograph with which the editors of the magazine had provided him. Notes on Glaze collects all the “Legend” columns, as well as their accompanying photographs.

American Rhapsody by Claudia Roth Pierpont 

The Christian Science Monitor praises Pierpont's "dazzling prose" in this collection of portraits of American artists and innovators, and The Washington Post dubs her blend of biography and criticism "ingenious."

 

Hogs Wild by Ian Frazier

From feral hogs in the South to homelessness in New York City, the decade of Frazier's reporting chronicled in this collection proves that he is, as The Believer deemed him, "a master of both distilled insight and utter nonsense."

The Healing by Samuel D. Hunter

Twenty-five years after being told by a counselor that their disabilities could be willed away with prayer, a group of friends come together to discuss a strange summer camp. The Healing premiered at Theatre Row's Clurman Theatre. 

Hardly War by Don Mee Choi

Choi's collection explores the consequences of the Korean and Vietnam wars using memoir, image, and opera. "While imperial history relishes mythmaking and triumphalism at the expense of the human and psychological costs of war," BOMB writes, "Choi revels in history’s untold spaces."

The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

Stephen King declares that The City of Mirrors is "a thrilling finale to a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction."

String Theory by David Foster Wallace

The New York Times has called David Foster Wallace "the best tennis-writer of all time"; in this collection of his tennis essays, Wallace explores the sport with the eye of a writer, a former player, and a fan.
 

the black maria by Aracelis Girmay

Of Girmay's collection, which investigates African disaporic histories and the consequences of racism within American culture, poet Kwame Dawes declares, "Girmay's poems set off alarms even as they transform the world she inhabits."

The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan

Kirkus Reviews deems Morgan's novel, a journey into the world of race and racing, "vaultingly ambitious, thrillingly well-written, charged with moral fervor and rueful compassion."

ShallCross by C. D. Wright

Of the late poet's collection, The Gettysburg Review declares, "C.D. Wright is entirely her own poet, a true original."

Olio by Tyehimba Jess

Jess's poetry collection, praised as "sprawling" and "extraordinary" by NPR, explores the stories of mostly unrecorded African American performers directly before and after the Civil War up to World War I.