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Faces to watch 2003

December 29, 2002|Renee Tawa

Mary Yukari Waters

Fiction writer

This year, Waters, 37, earned a master of fine arts in creative writing from UC Irvine -- and her short stories appeared in three prestigious anthologies: "The Best American Short Stories 2002" (Houghton Mifflin), "The O. Henry Prize Stories 2002" (Anchor) and "Pushcart Book of Short Stories: The Best Stories From a Quarter-Century of the Pushcart Prize" (W.W. Norton). Waters, who lives in West Los Angeles, also won a 2002 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship award of $20,000.

Her new collection of short stories, "The Laws of Evening" (Scribner), is due in May. If it takes off, she'll join the shining list of writers -- Alice Sebold, Glen David Gold and Michael Chabon, among others -- who've launched careers from Irvine's prestigious writing program.

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Nina Revoyr

Novelist

Revoyr's debut novel, "The Necessary Hunger" (Simon & Schuster, 1997), the story of two female high school basketball players who fall in love in Inglewood, won critical acclaim from Time magazine and others. Revoyr, 33, who grew up in Culver City, turned to writing as an undergraduate at Yale and went on to earn a master of fine arts in creative writing/fiction from Cornell. But she's held her California focus. Her second novel, "Southland" (Akashic Books), to be published in April, is gathering early praise as a story about family, race and murder in the Crenshaw District.

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Chris Abani

Poet

Abani fled Nigeria in 1991. In 1985, at age 18, he was imprisoned after the Nigerian government deemed his first novel a threat to national security, and in 1990, he was held on the country's death row after the production of his third play led to a conviction for treason. Abani, now a Middleton Fellow in creative writing at USC, won the 2001 PEN Center USA Freedom to Write Award for poetry. In early 2003, his new book of poems, "Daphne's Lot," is forthcoming from Red Hen Press.

-- Renee Tawa

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