Announcing the 35th Annual Whiting Award Winners

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Natalie Layne Baker

Staff Writer

Natalie Layne Baker's writing has appeared at Audible, Hachette, Book Riot, Submittable, Entropy, Memoir Mixtapes, Howl Round, and Bone & Ink Lit Zine. She currently resides in Philadelphia.

The Whiting Foundation has announced ten new recipients of the Whiting Awards, on the occasion of the award’s 35th anniversary. The winners were announced last night on the Whiting Foundation’s Twitter and Facebook.

Established by the Whiting Foundation in 1985, the Whiting Awards are committed to gifting significant monetary support to emerging writers, based on early career achievements and their future literary potential. Each recipient receives $50,000 with the intention of encouraging full-time commitment to their work, and literary experimentation.

This year’s recipients are being awarded in work that covers a variety of writing disciplines. The winners are being recognized for their work in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and playwriting. This year’s recipients include:

Severance book coverFiction

Genevieve Sly Crane (Sorority)

Andrea Lawlor (Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl)

Ling Ma (Severance)

Trick Mirror book coverNonfiction

Jaquira Díaz (Ordinary Girls)

Jia Tolentino (Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion)


Aria Aber (Hard Damage)

Diannely Antigua (Ugly Music)

Jake Skeets (Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers)

Genya Turovskaya (The Breathing Body of This Thought)


Will Arbery (Heroes of the Fourth Turning)

Due to current public health concerns about COVID-19, the Foundation has cancelled their traditional ceremony for honoring the recipients, to be rescheduled at a date to be determined.

“We wish to celebrate extraordinary writers, but we find ourselves in extraordinary times, ones where we are all reinventing how to gather, exchange ideas, and deepen our connections with each other across a necessary distance,” said Courtney Hodell, Director of Literary Programs at the Whiting Foundation. “As long as literature has existed, it has served this purpose, and we look to writers for their uncanny ability to sift raw experience for its poetry and truth. What we are living now, Whiting writers will reflect back to us in time, with depth and clarity and heart.”

Previous recipients of the Whiting Award have gone on to receive awards and fellowships such as the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Obie Award, and MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Lannan fellowships. Past winners have included Colson Whitehead, Alexander Chee, Mary Karr, and Sarah Ruhl. Ruhl was also among the judges for this year’s awards.

For more information about this year’s winners, check out the Whiting Foundation’s Facebook or Twitter feeds.