We’re thrilled to announce our next three Writing Downtown fellows, in partnership with A Public Space, Ember, and Words Without Borders. Fellows will spend a month in the vibrant heart of downtown Las Vegas, engaging with and becoming a part of the city’s thriving arts scene. The fellowship is designed to give talented writers and other creatives the space, time, and freedom to work on their longform projects, and the bibliophilic joy of living in a fully furnished apartment near Las Vegas’ literary hub, The Writer’s Block bookstore.
Special thanks again to the Amazon Literary Partnership, Submittable, the New York Public Library, and private donors for helping bring these fellowships to life.
Jamel Brinkley, September — A Public Space
Jamel Brinkley was raised in Brooklyn and the Bronx, New York. He is a Kimbilio Fellow and is an alum of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. He has been awarded scholarships from the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. A recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he was also the 2016-17 Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in A Public Space and Gulf Coast, and his debut short story collection will be published in 2018 by Graywolf Press. He is currently at work on a novel, Night is One Long Everlasting.
About his project
In Night is One Long Everlasting a teenage boy named Malik and his mother, Ruby, have returned from New York to Ruby’s hometown in southern Virginia for her father’s funeral. Malik is approached by a man, a stranger, who says that he recognizes Malik because he is the spitting image of his father, who abandoned Malik and Ruby when the boy was a newborn. This mysterious, fleeting encounter is the catalyst for everything else that happens in the novel. Malik is forced to confront his Southern heritage, while he pursues the mystery of his father. Along the way, he has a tense romance with a girl named Sierra, who knew his grandfather and acts as a guide for Malik and the reader to the kind of man he was. For Ruby, her son’s encounter brings her face to face with the mysterious man. The weeks she and Malik end up spending in Hobson force her to confront a place she fled. She is also forced to revisit her own decisions as a very young mother. The novel builds toward a conversation between Ruby and Malik about his father, a crucial one they’ve both spent years avoiding.
JC Hemphill, October — Ember
JC Hemphill has more than thirty short fiction publications across a range of mediums. In 2012 he won the Washington Pastime Literary Award and has been fascinated with the art of storytelling ever since. When he’s not writing, he spends his days exploring the great outdoors with his wife, son, and two dogs. (jchemphill.blogspot.com)
About his projects
In Downward, a loving mother-son relationship quickly descends into one of extreme possessiveness after a deranged man attacks the Krisch family in their home. Narrowly escaping the encounter convinces Alice that the world is a dangerous place for her son, Charlie, and that she must do whatever it takes to keep him safe.
While Melanie, Alice’s only other child, is visiting from college, it becomes apparent that Charlie is in more danger with Alice than without. But Melanie’s attempts at reason go ignored and after several weeks of Alice’s increasing distrust tearing the family apart, events culminate when an elderly neighbor finds her scrubbing poor Charlie’s mouth with Lysol – “To protect him from germs,” she explains.
Melanie and the neighbor decide it’s time to save Charlie from his mother. It’s a justified idea, but neither of them realizes the extent of Alice’s delusions. To her, Melanie and the neighbor are kidnapping Charlie: it isn’t the outside world that’s the villain, but her internal one. Full of rich characters and steadily rising tension, Downward is a terse thriller that inspects how love and the pursuit of safety can be our downfall.
In Vultures, a new drug has users seeing dark visions, drawing them into a cult, and Elsie Donovan must find the source to save his community.
Jennifer Croft, November – Words Without Borders
Jennifer Croft is the recipient of Fulbright, PEN, MacDowell and National Endowment for the Arts grants and fellowships, as well as the inaugural Michael Henry Heim Prize for Translation and a Tin House Workshop Scholarship for her novel Homesick, originally written in Spanish. She holds a PhD from Northwestern University and an MFA from the University of Iowa.
She is a founding editor of The Buenos Aires Review and has published her own work and numerous translations in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, VICE, n+1, Electric Literature, Lit Hub, BOMB, Guernica, The New Republic, The Guardian, The Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. Her translation from Spanish of Romina Paula’s August was just published by The Feminist Press, and her translation from Polish of Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights was just published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in the UK and is forthcoming in the US from Riverhead.
About her projects
Jennifer will be translating fiction by contemporary Argentine and Polish writers and co-translating, with Boris Dralyuk, poems by Yevgeny Yevtushenko. She’ll also be expanding the translation component of her own novel, Homesick .
Looking Towards 2018
We’re already gearing up for our 2018 fellowships. We welcome writers of all genres, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting, playwriting, songwriting, and any other creatives who work in the publishing world, including translators and designers, to apply via individual sponsors. The month-long fellowship includes housing and, potentially, stipends and other incidentals, depending on the arrangement with the partner.
During the program, fellows will lead a public event at The Writer’s Block, in the form of a workshop, lecture, or other community building activity.
Individual fellowships are made possible with support from the Amazon Literary Partnership, Submittable, the New York Public Library’s digital short story collection, and private donors. If your organization would like to partner with Plympton to sponsor a fellowship, please reach out to email@example.com.
To find out even more, visit http://www.writingdowntown.com