MDC’s Miami Book Fair Announces New Recipients of Emerging Writer Fellowships Program

Miami, Jan. 6, 2023 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Miami Book Fair (MBF) has announced latest recipients of its new Emerging Writer Fellowships (EWF) program, which actively helps establish the literary careers of developing writers who demonstrate exceptional talent and promise and are working on completing a book-length project within a year. The 2023 recipients are Siham “Sam” Inshassi, Soleil Garneau, Ella Jacobson and Óscar Molina V.

EWF is made possible by The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at The Miami Foundation, Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, Green Family Foundation, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the State of Florida Department of Cultural Affairs. Launched through the patronage of The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at The Miami Foundation, the program welcomed its first cohort of three Fellows in 2021, a poet, fiction writer\ and nonfiction writer. This year, Miami Book Fair welcomes four fellows, including a writer in Spanish.

“This program truly reflects our mission to seek out, encourage and offer concrete resources to exciting new writers,” said Lissette Mendez, MBF’s Director of Programs. “Providing relevant tools and a platform to an inclusive group of creative thinkers – who have important things to share and teach us – is the embodiment of what Miami Book Fair does. The addition of a fourth fellow writing in Spanish is another way in which Miami Book Fair recognizes our community’s cultural vibrancy.”

Fellows will have access to critical mentorship from nationally established authors in the genres of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, as well as a host of other strategic supports, including professional experience in arts administration, the opportunity to teach creative writing, a stipend, and strong literary community support to allow for 12 months of uninterrupted time to craft their works.

“It is an honor to support these up-and-coming writers during this critical time in their careers,” said Jorge M. Perez. “Much like their peers in the visual arts, writers, poets and other literary creatives open windows to emotions, thoughts and perspectives that would be otherwise inaccessible to the public. As such, we see it as our responsibility to empower these young people to find their voice and grow their careers. We cannot wait to see what they each accomplish.”

Meet the 2023 Emerging Writer Fellows and their mentors:

Fiction Fellow Siham “Sam” Inshassi is a Brooklyn-based Palestinian-American author, currently working on her first novel. She holds an MFA in fiction writing from The New School. She has been published in The Margins, The Inquisitive Eater, Brooklyn Magazine, and The Drum, among others. Inshassi will be mentored by Deesha Philyaw, whose debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing.

Poetry Fellow Soleil Garneau is a writer and educator with roots in the Mid-Atlantic, the Gulf South and Southern California. She is a Community of Writers alum and holds an MFA from UC Riverside. Her work has appeared in The Spectacle, Salt Hill Journal and Thin Air Magazine, among others. Garneau will be mentored by Arthur Sze, author of eleven books of poetry, including The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (2021); Sight Lines (2019), which won the National Book Award, and Compass Rose (2014), a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He has received grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation.

Nonfiction Fellow Ella Jacobson is a cultural critic and writer originally from Alaska. Her writing has appeared in Slate, The Drift, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Review of Books blog, High Country News, and Real Life, among other publications. She holds a master’s degree in cultural reporting and criticism from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, and is a former New York University Abu Dhabi Fellow in writing. Jacobson will be mentored by Pam Houston, author of the memoir Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, which won the 2019 Colorado Book Award, the High Plains Book Award and the Reading The West Advocacy Award. More recently, she co-authored Air Mail: Letters of Politics Pandemics and Place with Amy Irvine. She is also the author of Cowboys Are My Weakness, Contents May Have Shifted and four other books of fiction and nonfiction, all published by W.W. Norton.

Spanish Language Writing Fellow Óscar Molina V. is a journalist born in Quito, Ecuador. His work has appeared in magazines and media outlets in Latin America and the U.S., such as Gatopardo, Telemundo, Univision, El Espectador, The Clinic Online, Relatto, GK and Mundo Diners. In 2019, he was part of the exhibition Archivxs LGBTIQ+ at the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Quito with the work Contengo multitudes. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at The City University of New York (CUNY), and a master’s degree in literary creation from the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona (Spain). Molina V. will be mentored by Dr. Cristina Rivera Garza, the award-winning author of six novels, three collections of short stories, five collections of poetry and three non-fiction books. A recipient of the Roger Caillois Award for Latin American Literature (Paris, 2013), as well as the Anna Seghers (Berlin, 2005), Garza is the only author who has won the International Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize twice, in 2001 for her novel Nadie me verá llorar (translated into English by Andrew Hurley as No One Will See Me Cry) and again in 2009 for her novel La muerte me da. In 2022, she was recognized with the 2021 Xavier Villaurrutia Award for her novel El invencible verano de Liliana. Presented by the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico and the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL), the Xavier Villaurrutia Award is the highest literary award given to a book published in Mexico.

Funding for EWF was provided by The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation through The Pérez CreARTE Grants Program. Miami Book Fair was awarded $100,000 to launch this initiative. Other EWF partners and funders include the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation Green Family Foundation, MDC and Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

About the Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation & CreARTE Program
The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at The Miami Foundation fulfills the philanthropic vision of Jorge M. Pérez, chairman and CEO of The Related Group, his wife, Darlene, and his family, to shape a South Florida that is thriving, engaged, and serves as a model community for major cities around the globe. The foundation was launched in 2015 to build on Jorge and Darlene’s deep commitment to charitable giving and establishing a permanent legacy their children can carry forward. The foundation’s CreARTE program created to help develop the thriving arts community that is essential to making greater Miami a vibrant, connected, and culturally engaging place to live – invests in Miami-Dade organizations working to cultivate this ecosystem through expanding residents’ access to the arts and making our city a global hub for artistic excellence.

About Miami Book Fair
Founded in 1984 by Miami Dade College and partners, Miami Book Fair engages the community through inclusive, accessible programs that promote reading and support writers year-round. The annual eight-day festival has grown into the largest and most comprehensive community-rooted literary gathering in the United States generating discourse on contemporary literature and current issues of international importance. Throughout the rest of the year, Miami Book Fair responds hosts an ongoing schedule of activities, including The Little Haiti Book Festival; creative writing and publishing workshops; author presentations; reading campaigns; and Read to Learn Books for Free, a partnership with The Children’s Trust that distributes more than 150,000 free books a year to children in Miami-Dade County.  Miami Book Fair programming is made possible through generous support from the State of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts; City of Miami; Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council; Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau; Miami Downtown Development Authority; and Friends of the Fair; as well as many corporate partners. Miami Book Fair: Building community, one reader at a time.

Follow the Miami Book Fair on social media @miamibookfair.  

Miami Book Fair contact: Lisa Palley, 305-642-3132