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

“Picture of a soul” by Elizabeth Spires

In The New Criterion, Spires muses on the image of a shirt blowing in the wind and reflects, “I wear it. Or it wears me.”

John Jeremiah Sullivan on David Foster Wallace

Sullivan talks to Newsweek about his introduction for String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis, and the late writer, of whom he says: “When he would appear in magazines you had this beautiful sense of something having been captured, almost like a bird.”

The Blueshift Journal interviews Sherwin Bitsui

In online publication The Blueshift Journal, Bitsui describes his writing process as an act of capturing daily moments of inspiration, and each poem he writes as "sunlight one minute, a shadow on a wall the next.”

“From the Peninsula” by Ishion Hutchinson

On Poets.org, Hutchinson’s narrator muses over the “window’s tiger slates” and “nitrate stars” he sees from a distance.

The Mitchell S. Jackson Scholarship for Writers of Color

Local Portland law firm NW Injury Law Center honors Mitchell S. Jackson with a $1,500 scholarship for an incoming college freshman student of color who wishes to pursue a degree in writing.

This Blog Will Change Your Life interviews Alan Heathcock

On the literary blog’s podcast, Heathcock talks about Saturday Night Fever, Oprah, and the film production of his story “Smoke.” 

“Let’s Talk About Skin” by J. D. Daniels

On The Paris Review, Daniels and fellow writer Mike Nagel deconstruct Didier Anzieu’s theory of the skin as “psychic envelope.”

The Los Angeles Review of Books interviews Lydia Davis

Davis explains why “it’s terrible impoverishing to be confined to works written in English” and divulges the personality trait she believes all translators have in common.

The Texas Observer reviews Mexican American Literature: A Portable Anthology

The Texas Observer praises the anthology, co-edited by Dagoberto Gilb and his son Ricardo Angel, as “the most important of its kind in 40 years.”

“Climbing the Eye of God” by Matt Donovan

In an excerpt from A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape featured in The New York Review of Books, Donovan shares photographs of the Pantheon’s roof taken by Frank Baker Holmes and muses that while "gazing up at the roof’s opening, it’s wise at times to avoid any irritable reaching after fact and reason."

The Wall Street Journal interviews Justin Cronin

Cronin reveals his sentence-writing secret and the Western novel that served as inspiration for his own epic trilogy.

Full Stop reviews Proxies by Brian Blanchfield

Online magazine Full Stop declares that, “Proxies, though a slim volume, covers extensive ground and erupts with multitudes” and praises Blanchfield’s willingness to ask questions of the reader and himself. 

Kevin Kling: Lost & Found

In a documentary for PBS, Kling discusses how his physical disabilities have shaped his art and life.

The New York Times reviews Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

The New York Times raves that Vuong’s debut collection is "remarkable," praising the poet's "ability to capture specific moments in time with both photographic clarity and a sense of the evanescence of all earthly things."

The Telegraph reviews The Sport of the Kings by C. E. Morgan

The Telegraph deems Morgan’s novel “an audacious fiction that breathes new life into the American canon.”

“A Life of Adventure and Delight” by Akhil Sharma

In The New Yorker, fiction by Sharma details the romantic and sexual misadventures of Guatama, a PhD student who, “like many foreign students in America who are living away from home for the first time, had immediately begun loitering on Craigslist and Backpage.”

Allison Glock interviews filmmakers Carrie Schrader and Charlie Fisk

Glock talks to the team behind new film The Founders, the story of 13 women golfers who were the first female athletes to be recognized as such, about why female athletic role models are so crucial today. 

“Life After Life” by Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams

In Amtrak​'s Arrive magazine, Abrams​ reflects on the rewards of becoming guardian to her two young siblings.

“From Charles Lummis to David Hockney: What Coming to California Has Meant” by D. J. Waldie

On KCET, Waldie explores the stories of an array of California residents, from Joan Didion to migrant workers during World War II.

“How Judy Blume Changed My Life” by Lily King

On Literary Hub, King details how reading Judy Blume helped her get through her parents’ divorce and taught her that writing about families is “vital.”

The New Yorker reviews The Sport of the Kings by C. E. Morgan

In The New Yorker, Kathryn Schulz deems Morgan’s novel about the intricacies of the horse-racing world “beautiful and strange” and “urgent.”

The Millions interviews Victor LaValle

LaValle discusses his upcoming project, an exploration of modern terrors of the Internet, and why "human violence" is realer than any other monster in horror writing.

Texas Monthly interviews Justin Cronin

Cronin talks about action scenes, writing with his daughter, and why, when it comes to his novels, "some things are just mysterious." 

“Banjo Yes Plucks an Apple from a Tree in a Park” by Shane McCrae

In The Rumpus, McCrae’s poem, dedicated to Tamir Rice, is a meditation on race. 

Publications & Productions

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 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."

The Sport of the 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.

Antlia Pneumatica by Anne Washburn

Premiering at Playwrights Horizons, Washburn's Antlia Pneumatica follows the lives of friends who reunite in Texas to bury one of their own and are forced to confront their slippery pasts.

Dad Art by Damien Wilkins

In Wilkins's newest novel, acoustic engineer Michael Stirling grapples with online dating, his father's dementia, and a daughter's new boyfriend. New Zealand newspaper The Spinoff praises the characters' vulnerability and deems Wilkins "a keen observer of human behaviour."

Peacekeeping by Mischa Berlinski

Library Journal praises Berlinski's depiction of place in his novel about a UN worker sent to train Haitian police, calling Berlinski a writer with "the eye of an anthropologist and the heart of a novelist."


The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

BuzzFeed dubs LaValle's novel about sorcery in Jazz Age New York "wonderfully creepy and impossible to put down."

Bed by Sheila Callaghan

Ten years, five cities, and one relationship: Callaghan's latest, premiering at LA's Echo Theater, is a story of love, abandonment, and betrayal told from one bed.

My Father, the Pornographer by Chris Offutt

Writer Elizabeth McCracken dubs Offutt's memoir of a father who made a living writing erotica "an astonishing house of mysteries."