Emerging Voices Fellowship Hero Image With Headshots

The 2021 Emerging Voices Fellows

PEN America welcomes the 2021 Emerging Voices Fellows. Now in its 25th year, an expanded cohort of 14 fellows who represent a broad range of experiences, and are based in ten different states across the country, will partake in a five-month immersive mentorship program with virtually accessible programs that emphasize the business of books.

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.

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner Nefertiti Asanti By Beowulf Sheehan

Nefertiti Asanti

POETRY
Oakland, CA
Pronouns: they/she

Nefertiti Asanti is a poet born and raised in the Bronx and a recipient of fellowships and residencies from the Watering Hole, EmergeNYC, Lambda Literary, Anaphora Arts, Winter Tangerine, and the Hurston/Wright Foundation. Nefertiti’s forthcoming chapbook fist of wind won the inaugural Start a Riot! Chapbook Prize sponsored by Still Here San Francisco, RADAR Productions, and Foglifter. Nefertiti currently serves as prose poetry editor of Stellium Literary Magazine.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner KB Brookins By Beowulf Sheehan

KB

POETRY
Austin, TX
Pronouns: they/them

KB is a Black queer nonbinary miracle. They are the author of the chapbook How to Identify Yourself with a Wound, winner of the 2020 Saguaro Poetry Prize. Follow them online at @earthtokb.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner Jerakah Greene By Beowulf Sheehan

Jerakah Greene

FICTION
Tulsa, OK
Pronouns: they/them

Jerakah Greene is a fiction writer whose work explores queerness, gender identity, and their hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jerakah's writing has been published in Hair Trigger, Crabfat Magazine, Impossible Archetype, and the Lab Review. In 2019, they were twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner Stephan Herrera By Beowulf Sheehan

Stephan Sebastian Herrera

FICTION
New York, NY
Pronouns: he/him

Stephan Sebastian Herrera is an Ecuadorian-American writer. His fiction has appeared in Latino Book Review and The Acentos Review, and he was a 2020 finalist in the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards. He is originally from Arizona and now lives in Brooklyn.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner Lisa Herrick By Beowulf Sheehan

Lisa Lee Herrick

CREATIVE NONFICTION
Fresno, CA
Pronouns: she/her

Lisa Lee Herrick is an award-winning Hmong-American writer, illustrator, and media producer based in California. She is the co-founder of the LitHop literary festival, editor at large for Hyphen magazine, serves in a media advising capacity for several nonprofit organizations, and is currently working on her first memoir—a collection of personal essays—and a graphic novel.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner Joana Hong

Joanna Hong

FICTION
Los Angeles, CA
Pronouns: she/her

Joanna Hong is a writer and translator. Originally from Los Angeles, she has lived in Europe for nearly a decade and she speaks Korean, German, Italian, French, and Spanish. Her work can be found on Dazed & Confused, Newsweek, The Guardian, and other outlets.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner Lilly Nguyen By Beowulf Sheehan

Lilly U. Nguyen

CREATIVE NONFICTION
San Diego, CA
Pronouns: she/her

Lilly U. Nguyen is a writer based in San Diego, CA. She earned her BA from UC Berkeley and her PhD from UCLA, where she specialized in feminist science and technology studies. She is a former recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and recently was awarded a Tin House Summer Residency. She is preparing a book of essays, tentatively titled This Wound I Give You Is a Gift. The book considers the questions of war, inheritance, obligation, and the refugee self.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner Kimberly Nguyen By Beowulf Sheehan

Kimberly Nguyen

POETRY
Long Island City, NY
Pronouns: she/her

Kimberly Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American poet originally from Omaha, NE but currently living in New York City. She is a recent graduate of Vassar College, where she was a recipient of a Beatrice Daw Brown Prize for poetry. Her work can be found in diaCRITICSperhappened magHobartMuzzle Magazine, and others.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

Rochelle Marrett Headshot Photo Credit Beowulf Sheehan

Rochelle Marrett

FICTION
Detroit, MI
Pronouns: she/her

Rochelle Marrett is a Jamaican writer whose work seeks, at once, to be both an ode to her country and a critical examination of certain socio-political sentiments. Her writing also strives to articulate the everyday complexities of Black immigrant life in a manner that is a compelling and unsettling disruption of long-held assumptions. Most recently, Rochelle has been longlisted for the 2021 Disquiet Fiction Prize and a 2019 recipient of the Room Project Fellowship. Rochelle holds a BA in English from The College of Wooster. Currently she resides in Michigan with her husband and daughter. She is at work on her first novel.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner Shanda McManus By Beowulf Sheehan

Shanda McManus

CREATIVE NONFICTION
Fair Haven, NJ
Pronouns: she/her

Shanda McManus is a physician writer. She has practiced family medicine for over twenty years. Her writing has been featured or forthcoming in Intima Journal of Narrative Medicine, Midnight & Indigo, and Bellevue Literary Review. Shanda lives in New Jersey with her husband and their five children.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner Jenise Miller By Beowulf Sheehan

Jenise Miller

CREATIVE NONFICTION
Compton, CA
Pronouns: she/her

Jenise Miller is a Black Panamanian writer, poet, and urban planner based in Compton. Her writing about art, local history, and growing up Black Latinx in Compton and Los Angeles is featured in her poetry chapbook, The Blvd, as well as in the Los Angeles Times, LA Review of Books, KCET Artbound, Boom California, Dryland Literary Journal, and The Acentos Review.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner Ofelia Montelongo

Ofelia Montelongo

CREATIVE NONFICTION
Gaithersburg, MD
Pronouns: she/her

Ofelia Montelongo is a bilingual writer from Mexico. She received a BA in accounting and finance, an MBA, and a BA in English and creative writing. She has a MA in Spanish and Latin American literature from the University of Maryland. Her work has been published in Latino Book Review, The Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, and elsewhere. She currently teaches at the University of Maryland and is a PEN/Faulkner writer in residence in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

PEN America 2021 Emerging Voices Winner Tochukwu Okafor By Beowulf Sheehan

Tochukwu Okafor

FICTION
Worcester, MA
Pronouns: he/him

Tochukwu Okafor is a Nigerian writer whose work has appeared in the 2019 Best Small Fictions, the 2018 Best of the Net, and elsewhere. In 2021, he received fellowships from the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, Jack Straw Writers Program, GrubStreet, and the Worcester Arts Council. He is a 2022 Good Hart Artist-in-Residence, a 2021 Frank Conley Memorial Scholar, a 2021 Albertina Tholakele Dube Scholar for Young Writers, an alumnus of the 2021 Tin House Workshop, and a 2018 Rhodes Scholar finalist. He lives in Worcester, MA, and is at work on a novel and a story collection.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

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Adrienne Oliver

POETRY
Charlottesville, VA
Pronouns: she/her

Adrienne Oliver is a performer + public educator + single mother, and a Black woman in each of those realities; her work is to become a worthy ancestor. Adrienne's multi-genre experimental works encircle the performance of woman and motherhood, weaving the magical and mundane. Her work has appeared in the Virginia Film Festival, Spark + Echo Arts, Puerto del Sol Black Voices, Live Arts Theater, and the McGuffey Art Center, where she is currently an artist-in-residence. Adrienne curates and hosts the Coco Sprinkler Citrus Poem reading series and Jericho Brown calls her “the only person who reads [his] poems better than [him].” She lives in Charlottesville, VA with her daughter, Pearl.

Photo: Adrienne Oliver

2021 Emerging Voices Finalists

Amanda Machado
Connie Chiu
Evan Sterrett
Eva Recinos
huiying b. chan
Jhani Randhawa
Julio César Villegas
Kevon Street
Qursum Qasim
Sarah Kersey

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