New York University’s Creative Writing Program’s Fall Reading Series will host the recipients of the 2009 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards at a special event on Friday, September 25, at 7 p.m., at NYU’s Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, located at 58 W. 10th Street. The winners, six emerging women writers, will read from their works. The reading is free and open to the public; for further information, call 212.998.8816 or visit

The women writers featured in this event are:

Krista Bremer (nonfiction), an essayist who lives in Carrboro, North Carolina, where she is the associate publisher of The Sun, holds a B.A. from UC - San Diego and an M.A. in Journalism from UNC - Chapel Hill. Her essays have appeared in The Sun, Utne, Brain Child, Hip Mama, and other publications. Her essay “My Accidental Jihad” won a Pushcart Prize in 2008 and was cited as notable spiritual writing in the Best American Spiritual Writing series.

Vievee Francis (poetry) lives in Detroit, Michigan, where for 15 years she has been instrumental in fostering a literary community for youth and young-adult poets. She received her B.A. from Fisk University and will receive her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan in 2009, where she is the Alice Lloyd Hall Scholars Program Poet-in-Residence. Her first collection of poems, Blue-Tail Fly, was published by Wayne State University Press in 2006. Her poems have also appeared in Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Rattle, and in the forthcoming Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poets. She was a Cave Canem Fellow in 2005 and 2007.

Janice N. Harrington’s (poetry) first book of poems, Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone (2007), received the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize in 2006 and the 2008 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Educated at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and The University of Iowa, she worked as a librarian for many years and is now an assistant professor of English at the University of Illinois. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Field, Harvard Review, and many other journals. She is currently working on a collection of poems, Night Shift, based on her experience as a student working summers and weekends on the night shift in a county nursing home.

Lori Ostlund’s (fiction) first collection of stories, The Bigness of the World (University of Georgia Press, August 2009), won the 2008 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. She has a B.A. from Minnesota State University Moorhead and an M.A. in English from the University of New Mexico. Her stories have appeared in the New England Review, Bellingham Review, The Georgia Review, and The Kenyon Review. She is working on a second short story collection and a novel entitled After the Parade. Ostlund lives in San Francisco and teaches developmental English and creative writing at The Art Institute of California.

Helen Phillips (fiction) received her B.A. from Yale University in 2004 and her M.F.A. from Brooklyn College in 2007, where she is an adjunct lecturer and administrator in the creative writing program. She is the recipient of the 2008 Italo Calvino Prize for Fabulist Fiction, the 2009 Meridian Editors Award, and a Ucross Foundation residency. Her work has appeared in Salt Hill Journal, The Mississippi Review, and Faultline, and will be included in American Fiction: The Best Unpublished Short Stories by Emerging Writers (2010). And Yet They Were Happy, which she describes as a book composed of 175 one-page linked stories that hovers somewhere between fable and fiction, poetry and myth, autobiography and fairy tale, will be published by Leapfrog Press in 2011.

Heidy Steidlmayer (poetry) lives in Vacaville, California, and has recently completed her first manuscript of poems entitled Fowling Piece. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, and Triquarterly, and she received the 2007 J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize from Poetry magazine. She received her B.A. from Northwestern University and her M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College.

The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards program was created by celebrated writer Rona Jaffe (1931-2005) to identify and support women writers of exceptional talent in the early stages of their writing careers. Grants of $25,000 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 by appointed writers, editors, and scholars from across the country. The selectors and nominators serve anonymously. Direct applications and unsolicited nominations are not accepted by the Foundation. Now celebrating its 15th year, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 million to emergent women writers. For more information, visit

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