Cayce fiction writer Julia Elliott receives $30,000 award
South Carolina fiction writer and 2008/2009 South Carolina Arts Commission Prose Fellow Julia Elliott is a recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, which is given annually to six women writers who demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers. The 2012 Awards were $30,000 each and were presented to the six recipients in New York City last fall.
Elliott’s story “Regeneration at Mukti” received a Pushcart Prize and will appear in the 2013 anthology. Her stories have been published in Tin House, Conjunctions, The Georgia Review, and other journals. She describes her recent work as “examining emerging technologies and the production of scientific knowledge through the lens of experimental fiction.” The Jaffe Selection Committee found her work “incredibly imaginative, sharply observed and totally original.”
Elliott plans to use her Writer’s Award to take at least two summers off and pay for child care so she can work on two novel projects. The first novel, The New and Improved Romie Futch, is about a South Carolina taxidermist who, after serving as a research subject and receiving brain downloads of “complex humanities disciplines,” returns to his hometown to confront his failed marriage. Her second novel project is based on her own field study of Hamadryas baboons. She says, “Rethinking the role of gender in scientific research, I plan to write a novel narrated from the perspective of a female primatologist who is observing a troop of baboons and residing at a decadent research institute in the desert where she encounters scientists of diverse gender identification and sexual orientation.” Elliott received her M.F.A. from Pennsylvania State University and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia. She teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina, where she also received her B.A. She lives with her husband and young daughter in Cayce, South Carolina.
About the Awards:
Now in its 18th year, the Rona Jaffe Awards have helped many women build successful writing careers by offering encouragement and financial support at a critical time. Celebrated novelist Rona Jaffe (1931-2005) established The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards program in 1995. It is the only national literary awards program of its kind dedicated to supporting women writers exclusively. Since the program began, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 million to emergent women writers, including several who have gone on to critical acclaim, such as Elif Batuman, Eula Biss, Judy Budnitz, Lan Samantha Chang, Rebecca Curtis, Rivka Galchen, Kathleen Graber, Frances Hwang, Aryn Kyle, ZZ Packer, Tracy K. Smith, Mary Szybist and Julia Whitty.