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MacDowell and The Rona Jaffe Foundation celebrated 14 years of partnership supporting emerging women writers with a virtual reading and Q&A featuring Elif Batuman, Chelsea Bieker, and Monica Sok on Monday, February 8th. The event began with readings that were then followed by a 30-minute Q&A with questions collected in advance from members of the public. Author, MacDowell Fellow, and MacDowell board member Julie Orringer moderated. You can watch the hour-long presentation below.
All four of these distinguished writers can trace aspects of their careers to the joint support that MacDowell and The Rona Jaffe Foundation provide. Batuman is a 2007 Rona Jaffe Award recipient and 2018 MacDowell Fellow, Bieker is a 2018 Rona Jaffe Award recipient and 2014 MacDowell Fellow, Orringer is a three-time MacDowell Fellow and a recipient of the 2008 Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship at the Cullman Center of the New York Public Library, and Sok is the 2016 Rona Jaffe MacDowell Fellowship recipient.
“The foundation is delighted to co-sponsor this event with MacDowell to celebrate both our lasting relationship and our mutual mission in supporting creative artists,” said Executive Director of The Rona Jaffe Foundation Beth McCabe. “This collaboration is part of the foundation’s ongoing effort to recognize and support some of our most vital cultural institutions and literary nonprofits in our country. Our fellowship with MacDowell is one of many we sponsor throughout the nation to help women build successful writing lives. We are so pleased to have been able to provide support to Elif, Chelsea, Monica, and Julie at important junctures in their careers and it’s wonderful to bring them together with MacDowell for this special evening.”
“With time and space, MacDowell provides essential support to artists of all disciplines at critical periods in their careers, and The Rona Jaffe Foundation is an essential partner for MacDowell in our efforts to provide that support to writers,” said MacDowell Executive Director Philip Himberg. “We celebrate our ongoing relationship with The Rona Jaffe Foundation, these four amazing writers, and the authors and poets our partnership will support in the future.”
With themes in the participants' books including imagination, trauma, the search for answers, and the ways in which writing shapes memory and reality, this event promises to engage writers and readers of all generations.
The Rona Jaffe Foundation permanently endowed the Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship at MacDowell in 2008. Each year, this fellowship supports an emerging woman writer with a MacDowell residency and a stipend of $2,500. Twelve incredible writers have been supported by the Rona Jaffe Fellowship at MacDowell, including Carolyn Byrne, Aurora Masum-Javed, and Yahaira Lawrence.