2008 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship
Theresa Nelson, author of the forthcoming novel Julia Delaney: The American Version, to be published by Atheneum Books
The PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship established in 2001, provides an l/author children’s or young adult literature with a measure of financial sustenance in order to make possible an extended period of time to complete a book-length work-in-progress and to assist a writer at a crucial moment in his or her career when monetary support is particularly needed. The fellowship is supported by an endowment fund established by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Past honorees have been Graham McNamee, Lori Aurelia Williams, Franny Billingsley, Amanda Jenkins, Barbara Shoup, and Diane Les Becquets.
The fellowship is made possible by a substantial contribution from PEN member Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, the prolific author of more than 125 works of fiction, including Dangerously Alice, the 22nd and most recent in the acclaimed Alice series, as well as Sang Spell and Shiloh (the first novel in a trilogy) which won the 1992 Newbery Medal. On establishing the fellowship, Mrs. Naylor said: “We truly work ‘blind,’ with no assurance whatsoever that anyone will be interested in our final product. It takes enormous stamina and resolve and optimism to live with our characters for a year or more—and it is my hope that the Working Writer Fellowship, modest as it is, will let the author know that an expert panel of PEN judges has faith in the writer, admires her work, and trusts that she will be able to bring to paper what she sees in her head.”
Paul Curtis, Sid Fleischman, Mitali Perkins
From the Judges’ Citation
“It’s 1910 when her grandmother dies, and Irish-American orphan Julia Delaney and her sister are carted off to a Catholic institution, sustained only by her beloved older brother’s promise to reunite them. This historical novel is told with engaging humor, rich language, and details that are superbly consistent with the setting. From the outset, Julia leaps out of the past, off the page, and straight into your heart.”