I can hardly believe I’m typing this. Every time I look at the letter, which I received in the mail last Thursday, I have to read the first paragraph two or three times just to make sure it’s real. But it’s true:
This is huge news. This is momentous: this is the beginning of things.
Literary Arts, who conduct the fellowships, received 400 applications. They selected eight writers and two publishers. I am one of the eight writers — one of only two fiction writers. My fellowship is the Walt Morey Fellowship, named for the author of Gentle Ben.
I am beside myself.
The award is based on the merit of my Civil War novel, Hagridden, and I’ll be using the fellowship funds to travel to the region the novel is set in. I want to walk the land, to reconnect with the kinds of people I remember from my childhood who colored my regional characters, to visit the sites of the few major battles that took place in the region during the war, to meet with area historians and librarians. I feel I need to get out there and live inside this book before I can truly call the novel finished.
Now, thanks to the generosity of Literary Arts, I have the opportunity to do that.
Many, many thanks to Literary Arts and all the people who help make that organization, its mission, and its fellowships possible, and to the judges for this year’s fellowships. I am humbled. I am overwhelmed.
I am ready to get to work!
Want to read some pieces from the novel that got me the fellowship? An excerpt appeared in Sententia #3, which you can buy online through Sententia Books. And another excerpt will appear in SOL: English Writing in Mexico in March, so stay tuned!