The 2011 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship went to Lucy Frank for Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling, a novel in verse (available for publication).

The PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, established in 2001, provides a writer with a measure of financial sustenance in order to make possible an extended period of time to complete a book-length work-in-progress. 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, and Barbara Shoup.

2011 Judges

Daniel Handler, Lyn Miller-Lachman, and Neal Shusterman

From the Judges’ Citation

“A compelling look at lives hanging in the balance. Eight days. Two teenagers. One hospital room. And we are there with them, waiting for the results of their medical tests, hearing them talk, listening in on their dreams, feeling their fears. Told in a form that is both daring and intriguing, Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling is a stunning novel in verse that is heartbreakingly real, hurtling us through these difficult days with velocity and poignancy: ‘Faces bob above / like smiley-face balloons’; ‘You got that?’ Sheela’s voice / slices through the curtain. / ‘Nobody dies in my room. / Not even me.’”