British Pakistani writer Aamina Ahmad has won a $30,000 writers’ award from the USA-based Rona Jaffe Foundation which was created to support women writers. The Foundation will honor its annual Writers’ Awards winners at a private ceremony on September 14th in New York City. The 2017 winners are Aamina Ahmad, Ama Codjoe, Ebony Flowers, Tiana Nobile, Dominica Phetteplace, and Shawna Kay Rodenberg. The only national literary awards program of its kind devoted exclusively to women was created by celebrated novelist Rona Jaffe to identify and women writers of unusual talent and promise in the early stages of their writing careers. Ms. Jaffe passed away in 2005.
“Our award winners this year are an exciting and talented group of women writers. Their writing is thrilling, challenging, and engaging,” says Beth McCabe, Director of the Writers’ Awards program. “Each is working in her own vein but tapping into the universal threads and truths that define much of our existence—family, memory, history and self determination. This year we are also recognizing our first writer working in graphic narrative.”
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About Aamina Ahmad
Aamina Ahmad’s (fiction) novel in progress, The Walled City, part crime novel/part family saga, is set primarily in 1960s Pakistan within the ancient walled city of Lahore, where a police detective is investigating the suspicious death of a prostitute. Her nominator writes, “Depth of characterization, the great attraction of her stories, turns revelatory at novel-length: its source is a spectacularly undeluded empathy. A brave, disciplined, and unconventional mind is at work.”
Aamina is also working on a collection of stories. Her work has appeared in Ecotone, The Missouri Review, and The Normal School, among other publications. She has received notable mentions in the Best American Short Stories and Best American Non-required Reading anthologies. Raised in England, she received her B.A. and M.A. from London University. She also studied at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received her M.F.A. in 2013. She completed a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University in 2017. Her Writer’s Award will cover living expenses and child care over the next year as well as underwrite an essential trip to Pakistan. It will also provide her with the necessary time to finish her novel. Ms. Ahmad lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and two children.
About The Rona Jaffe Foundation
Rona Jaffe (1931-2005) established The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards program in 1995. It is the only national literary awards program of its kind dedicated to supporting women writers exclusively. Since the program began, the Foundation has awarded grants to 146 outstanding women. Ms. Jaffe was the author of sixteen books, including Class Reunion, Family Secrets, The Road Taken, and The Room-Mating Season (2003). Her 1958 best-selling first novel, The Best of Everything, was reissued by Penguin in 2005.
The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards are given to writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Since the program began in 1995, the Foundation has awarded over $2 million to emergent women writers. Past recipients of the Writers’ Awards, such as Rachel Aviv, Elif Batuman, Eula Biss, Sarah Braunstein, Lan Samantha Chang, Vievee Francis, Rivka Galchen, Aryn Kyle, ZZ Packer, Helen Phillips, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Namwali Serpell, Solmaz Sharif, Tracy K. Smith, Mary Syzbist, and Tiphanie Yanique have since received wider critical recognition, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award, the Caine Prize for African Writing, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and the Whiting Writer’s Award.
For further information visit www.ronajaffefoundation.org.