Here’s the Emerging Writer Fellowship 2022 Shortlist

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I recently sat on the selection panel for the Straw Dog Writers Guild Emerging Writer Fellowship along with Kaija Langley and Aqueela Culbreath-Britt. It has been a great learning experience being part of this panel and the working committee that runs the fellowship.

Here are the shortlisted writers: Vida James, Regine Jackson, and Syki Barbee.  One writer will be named the 2022-23 Fellow in March. 

L to R - Syki Barbee, Regine Jackson & Vida James
L to R – Syki Barbee, Regine Jackson & Vida James.

The Fellow will receive a $3000 grant from Straw Dog Writers Guild to be used for writing-related expenses, access to mentors who can offer assistance with writing needs identified by the Fellow, a professional author website, valued at $1,500, sponsored by Valley of Writers, membership to Straw Dog Writers Guild for two years, and other benefits.

Syki Barbee of Springfield MA is a first-generation college graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and specializations in Professional Writing and Technical Communication & Creative Writing from UMass, Amherst. She is passionate about the centralization of BIPOC characters and characters from other underrepresented communities in literature. 

Regine Jackson loved reading as a child. Her mother worked as a clerk and page at different libraries in the city and would always bring books home – from manga to Diana Wynne Jones. Regine grew up wanting to write characters in those worlds; characters who looked like her and who she could relate to. She was born and raised in Springfield MA.

Vida James is a Nuyorican social worker from Brooklyn, NY. She is a Delaney Fellow in the UMass Amherst MFA Program for Poets & Writers. She is the winner of the 2021 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artists Award and a 2021 Cara Parravani Memorial Award in Fiction. Her writing has been supported by Tin House, Bread Loaf, and VONA/Voices. She has work appearing in Story, New England Review, Epiphany, and elsewhere.

The fellowship was designed to support women of color and gender-expansive writers of color based in Western Massachusetts at the early stages of their careers. The Fellowship was created to help emerging writers negotiate barriers that may prevent them from accessing mentorship and pursuing publication of their work.

Emerging Writer Fellowship - Shortlist - L to R Syki Barbee, Regine Jackson & Vida James
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Life Notes is my online notebook; a place to put my digital ‘newspaper’ clippings, bits of my journal, observations, and other stuff all with the ultimate aim of find tools, resources & ideas to help artists thrive.  Read about how it came about here.

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