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

The National Post reviews Father Comes Home From the Wars by Suzan-Lori Parks

The National Post declares that Parks’s story of a black man forced to serve in the Confederate army during the Civil War is “exhilaratingly ambitious” and proclaims the play “has the feel of greatness.”

The New York Times interviews Colson Whitehead

Whitehead discusses how fatherhood has impacted his writing and the importance of cautious hope.

“The Crotchgrabber” by Mary Karr

In the New Yorker, Karr describes her own experience with a “shockingly casual” sexual assault and explains why “guys who make creepy comments on the streets aren’t just oafs.”

Front Porch journal interviews Terrance Hayes

Hayes discusses which non-poetic works have most inspired him, and why he believes “writers should fully embrace the idea of persona, of never being fully who you are, or almost who you are.”

NPR reviews The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

NPR praises Whitehead’s willingness to tackle national “wounds that still haven’t healed” and declares that, in his latest novel, “Colson Whitehead's talent and range are beyond impressive and impossible to ignore." 

“Chubby Minutes” by Leopoldine Core

On Literary Hub, a story from Core’s collection When Watched depicts the interaction between two former lovers in a grocery store, and a narrator who can’t help thinking filthy, lonely thoughts. 

“From the Margins” interviews Mitchell S. Jackson

For the literary podcast, Jackson discusses the one book his prison library had written by a black author, and how reading while incarcerated inspired his later novel.

NPR interviews Colson Whitehead

Whitehead discusses how the movie 12 Years A Slave affected his writing process and where he focused his research for The Underground Railroad.

“This is Your Neurotic Captain Speaking” by Teddy Wayne

For The New Yorker, Wayne parodies an overly tense pilot who advises passengers to “not look out the window – trust me.”

Essay Daily reviews My Private Property by Mary Ruefle

Essay Daily writes that Ruefle’s prose “makes you laugh aloud, and, in the same beat, breaks your heart” and declares that “an entire book” could be written on the magnitude of her new collection's title piece.

The New Republic reviews The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The New Republic explores the complex history of slave literature, discussing the ways in which “Whitehead interrogates the silences in history to force a twenty-first-century audience to see the violent reality anew.”

Theatre Communications Group will honor Danai Gurira at their 2016 gala

“We’re thrilled to honor both the visionary artistry and activism of Danai Gurira,” said Teresa Eyring, Executive Director of TCG. Gurira's play Eclipsed was nominated for a 2016 Tony Award.

The London Magazine reviews Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

"Although these are deeply personal losses, Vuong’s pitch-perfect approach, through the legacy of war and forced displacement, shows us why we can’t afford to let him remember them alone," the magazine writes, praising Vuong’s use of rhetoric. 

“The Trouble with Corey Lewandowski on CNN” by Margaret Talbot

In The New Yorker, Talbot delves into why the former Trump campaign manager’s addition to CNN is “a special case.”

Poetry in the Park: The 2016 Whiting Award Winners celebrate summer at Bryant Park's Word for Word

2016 Whiting winners LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Layli Long Soldier, Safiya Sinclair, and Ocean Vuong read work from their recently published and upcoming collections under the trees of Bryant Park.

Late Night Library interviews Tyehimba Jess

Jess expands on the making of the fold-outs and perforated pages in his latest collection, and how, with Olio, he has “endeavored to create a performance mainly for my own edification.”

The August Wilson Park

To honor the late playwright, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has dedicated a city park in his name, which will feature literary readings and neighborhood festivals, and is decorated with quotes from Wilson.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead is an Oprah’s Book Club book

Oprah has chosen Whitehead’s latest novel for her Book Club, urging readers to “get it, then get another copy for someone you know.” 

The Idaho Statesman interviews Kerri Webster

Webster reflects on her recent win of a 2017 Idaho Commission on the Arts Fellowship and why “wilderness has an aspect of holiness to me.”

The Boston Globe reviews Olio by Tyehimba Jess

The Boston Globe writes that Jess’s collection is “one of the most inventive, intensive poetic undertakings of the past decade.”

“Readers in Exile: The Elsewheres of Andre Aciman”

Ploughshares delves into themes of distance in Aciman’s work, musing “the written word makes an optimal channel for Aciman’s elsewhere-ness: for who more than a reader accesses life from a remove?”

“Bernie Sanders’s Struggle Continues” by Margaret Talbot

In The New Yorker, Talbot muses on what she deems “Bernie Sanders’s most admirable characteristic”: his integrity. 

Moss magazine interviews Mitchell S. Jackson

Jackson discusses the gentrification of Portland and why, when it came to writing The Residue Years, "fiction gave me the leeway to get at a deeper truth than what was in the facts." 

“Hog for Sorrow” by Leopoldine Core

 In BOMB Magazine, a story from Core’s collection When Watched explores quiet moments of a friendship between two women who contemplate the freedom of old age and the private lives of married men they sleep with. 

Publications & Productions

When Watched by Leopoldine Core

The Los Angeles Review of Books declares that, when reading Core's collection of stories based in New York City, "one gets an otherworldly sensation."

Dead People by Morgan Meis and Stefany Anne Goldberg

The Rumpus calls Meis's latest, a collection of unorthodox obituaries for figures such as Osama bin Laden and David Foster Wallace, "an impassioning read."  

Guy Novel by Michael Ryan

Publishers Weekly dubs Ryan's first novel, a detective story set in California's entertainment industry, "a really fun thrill ride."

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Whitehead's novel explores the journey of one young slave as she travels on a harrowing, state-by-state flight out of a cotton plantation in Georgia in the Antebellum South. The Boston Globe deems The Underground Railroad "a fully realized masterpiece."


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."

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."