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2012 Whiting Award winners announced

October 23, 2012|By Carolyn Kellogg
  • Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts at a reading of the National Book Critics Circle Awards finalists.
Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts at a reading of the National Book Critics Circle Awards… (David Shankbone via Flickr )

The Whiting Foundation announced its 2012 literary award recipients Tuesday. The 10 authors will each receive a $50,000 grant, no strings attached.

The Whiting Awards are geared to help extraordinary new writers find the footing to achieve success. Awards are made to poets, novelists, short-story writers, playwrights and writers of nonfiction.

Past recipients include Jeffrey Eugenides, Tony Kushner, David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen, Mark Doty, Colson Whitehead, C.D. Wright, Douglas Kearney, Michael Cunningham, Tracy K. Smith and John Jeremiah Sullivan.

From the Whiting Foundation's release:

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, nonfiction.  Her first book, "Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America," published by Little, Brown in 2011, was named among 100 Notable Books of 2011 by the New York Times Book Review and nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Originally from Houston, she lives in New York City.

Ciaran Berry, poetry. His first full-length collection, "The Sphere of Birds," won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition in 2007 and was published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2008.  Born in Dublin, he lives in Hartford, Conn.

Atsuro Riley, poetry.  His first book, "Romey’s Order," was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2010, and won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the Believer Poetry Award, and the Witter Bynner Award from the Library of Congress.  Born and raised in the South Carolina low country, he lives in San Francisco.

Danai Gurira, plays.  She is author of "Eclipsed" and "The Convert." Born in Iowa and raised in Zimbabwe, she is also an Obie Award-winning actor and divides her time between New York City and Los Angeles.

Samuel D. Hunter, plays.  His plays include "A Bright New Boise," winner of an Obie, "The Whale," which will have an upcoming production at Playwrights Horizon in New York, and his most recent play, "The Few." A native of northern Idaho, he lives in New York City.

Mona Mansour, plays.  She is the author of "Urge for Going" (Public Theater), "The Hour of Feeling," which just received its world premiere in the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and her new play, "The Way West." She lives in Brooklyn.

Meg Miroshnik, plays.  Her work includes "The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls," "The Droll {Or, a Stage-Play about the END of Theatre}," "The Tall Girls," and an adaptation of Shostakovich's "Moscow, Cheryomushki." She lives in Los Angeles.

Alan Heathcock, fiction.  His story collection, "Volt," was published in 2011 by Graywolf, and was a finalist for the Barnes and Noble Discover Prize.  A native of Chicago, he now lives in Idaho, where he teaches at Boise State University.

Anthony Marra, fiction.  He will publish his debut novel, "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena," in 2013, and his story collection, "The Tsar of Love and Techno," in 2014, both with Hogarth Press. Currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing at Stanford, he lives in Oakland, Calif.

Hanna Pylväinen, fiction.  Her debut novel, "We Sinners," was published this summer by Henry Holt. In 2011 she was a fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and since then has been completing her next novel, "The End of Drum Time." She lives in Brooklyn.

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