(New York, NY) — PEN America today announced that it has selected its 2021 Emerging Voices Fellows. Now in its 25th year, the Emerging Voices Fellowship welcomes 14 fellows who represent a broad range of experiences and are based in ten different states across the country. 

“We’re delighted to welcome this cohort of Emerging Voices Fellows,” said Jared Jackson of PEN America. “This pathbreaking program is critical to PEN America’s mission of furthering literary excellence while uplifting emerging writers. We’re excited to nurture this stunning group of fellows and set them on a path to success.” 

The 14 fellows were selected from the largest applicant pool in the program’s history. The final selection committee included poet and founder of Costura Creative Eloisa Amezcua; vice president and editor-in-chief of Counterpoint Press Dan Smetanka; literary agent at Folio Literary Management Erin Harris; writer and fiction editor at Barrelhouse Christopher Gonzalez; and author and contributing writer at The New Yorker Lauren Michele Jackson.

This year’s fellows are: Nefertiti Asanti, KB, Jerakah Greene, Stephan Sebastian Herrera, Lisa Lee Herrick, Joanna Hong, Lilly U. Nguyen, Kimberly Nguyen, Rochelle Marrett, Shanda McManus, Jenise Miller, Ofelia Montelongo, Tochukwu Okafor, and Adrienne Oliver.

Each fellow will partake in workshops that emphasize the business of books. With support from PEN America’s network of agents, editors, publishers, partner organizations, and outlets, a distinguished Emerging Voices Advisory Committee, and a devoted community of former Emerging Voices fellows, the fellowship will nurture their creative community while demystifying the path to publication—with the ultimate goal of diversifying the publishing and media industries.

The Emerging Voices Fellowship grew out of PEN America Los Angeles’s forum “Writing the Immigrant Experience,” held at the Los Angeles Central Library in March 1994, which explored the experiences of first- and second-generation immigrant writers. In 1996, PEN America Los Angeles initiated Emerging Voices as a mentorship program designed to provide professional resources to writers seeking financial and creative support to pursue their craft professionally. In 2021, virtually accessible programs and an expanded cohort of fellows will further the goal of reshaping the literary landscape by increasing representation and enabling participation from writers across the country.

Later this spring, PEN America will announce the writers who are paired with each fellow as part of the intensive mentorship program.