New York University’s Creative Writing Program will open its Fall Reading Series by hosting six emerging women writers, recipients of the 2006 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards, who will read from their works on Friday, September 15 at 7 p.m. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House, One Washington Mews (at Fifth Avenue). For further information the public may call 212.998.8816.

The women writers featured in this event are:

Rivka Galchen (fiction) of New York City has just completed her M.F.A. at Columbia University. She received her M.D. from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in 2003 with a focus on psychiatry. Interested in the intersection of literature and cognitive science, she is currently working on an intricate first novel, Open Letter to the Royal Academy of Meteorology, about a psychiatrist who is convinced that his young Argentinean wife has been replaced with an exact look-alike.

Ellen Litman (fiction) of Somerville, Massachusetts, will have her first collection of short stories, The Last Chicken in America, published by W.W. Norton in 2007. She immigrated to the U.S. from Moscow at 19 and has a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.F.A. from Syracuse University. Her stories have appeared in Tin House, Triquarterly, and Best New American Voices 2007. She is currently working on a coming-of-age novel set in Russia during the Gorbachev years and perestroika.

Melissa Range (poetry) of Decatur, Georgia, has a B.A. from The University of Tennessee, an M.F.A. from Old Dominion, and an M.T.S. from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry London, and Western Humanities Review. She is working on a collection of poems entitled Scriptorium and a second collection, The Lay of Wandering Edris, a long poem about the Appalachia South.

Emily Rapp (fiction/nonfiction) of Santa Monica, California, is the author of Poster Child, to be published by Bloomsbury in January 2007. Part memoir/part travelogue, the book interweaves the story of her life as a disabled person with the year she spent abroad as a Fulbright Scholar. She is currently working on two novels, The Beekeeper’s Year and The Second City, a family saga that takes place in modern-day Northern Ireland. She holds a B.A. from Saint Olaf College, an M.F.A. from the University of Texas, and an M.A. from Harvard Divinity School. She teaches in the Graduate Writing Program of Antioch University in Los Angeles.

Rita Mae Reese (fiction/poetry) of San Francisco is currently a Stegner Fellow in fiction at Stanford University. She also has received a 2005 “Discovery “/The Nation Prize and the Martha Meier Renk Fellowship in poetry from the University of Wisconsin where she earned her M.F.A. She is working on a novel entitled Local Usage, set in West Virginia in the 1960s against the backdrop of President Johnson’s War on Poverty. She is also working on her first poetry collection, A History of Accidents.

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (nonfiction) of New York City has a B.A. from Harvard and is a freelance writer and editor, as well as a contributing editor for Transition Magazine. Her first book of creative nonfiction, Harlem is Nowhere, will be published by Little, Brown in 2008. Recently she finished a Lannan Foundation Residency and will begin her Fulbright Scholarship in creative writing this fall.

The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards program was created by celebrated author Rona Jaffe (1931-2005) “to identify and support women writers of exceptional talent in the early stages of their writing careers.” Grants of $15,000 are given to writers of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry to make writing time available and for such specific purposes as child care, research, and related travel costs. A selection committee reviews nominations from appointed writers, editors, and scholars from across the country. (Direct applications and unsolicited nominations are not accepted by the Foundation.) The selectors and nominators serve anonymously. Now in its twelfth year, the Foundation has awarded grants to 80 women. It is the only national literary awards program dedicated to supporting women writers exclusively.

The NYU Creative Writing Program, with permanent faculty members E.L. Doctorow, Paule Marshall, Breyten Breytenbach, Philip Levine, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Sharon Olds, has distinguished itself for over three decades as a leading national center for the study of literature and writing. The Reading Series, sponsored in cooperation with the NYU Book Centers and the Fales Collection at NYU, is a vital component of the Writing Program, bringing both established and new writers to NYU. The NYU Creative Writing Program Reading Series is made possible by generous support from the Lila Acheson Wallace Theater Fund, established in The New York Community Trust by the founders of the Reader’s Digest Association.

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