Meet Our BIPOC Scholarship Recipients

  • April 24, 2024

Five honorees will attend the 2024 Washington Writers Conference for free!

Meet Our BIPOC Scholarship Recipients

We’re thrilled to announce our 2024 Washington Writers Conference BIPOC Scholarship recipients! The honorees were selected by scholarship coordinator Sydnye White (herself a winner last year), along with authors Tara Campbell, Melanie S. Hatter, and Alice Stephens. They’ll each receive free entry to this year’s conference, which features multiple panels with noted writers, agent-pitch sessions, workshops, and a lunchtime keynote roundtable.

“I am super excited about the second cohort of BIPOC scholars,” says White. “They represent diversity across race, gender, gender identification, and writing experiences. Plus, they are all passionate about honing their craft.”

Adds Jennifer Bort Yacovissi, the Independent’s president, “We were especially thrilled that Sydnye agreed to lead the program’s second year, and she has done beyond a stellar job. The credentials of the evaluation team she convened and the creative strength of this second cohort of scholars are a testament to her work and have cemented the value of this program.”

Here are this year’s recipients:

Damon Davis hosts the “Who Am I Really?” podcast, featuring adoptees sharing their attempts to find their birth families. Pulling lessons from 200+ adoptees, Damon is drafting his second book about the adoption experience. In his autobiography, Who Am I Really?, he shared his own emotional journey.

Divya Sood has been awarded the Evelyn Hamilton First Prize for Fiction, the Edna N. Herzberg First Prize for Fiction, and the New Jersey Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters First Prize for Fiction. Divya also holds an MFA in creative writing from New York University.

Eliamani Ismail is a Malian American writer and second-year MFA student at the University of Maryland. Upon graduating Scripps College in 2020, Eliamani was awarded the T.J. Watson Fellowship to explore global writing abroad for one year. Her fiction and poetry have been published in Puerto Del Sol, Southern Humanities Review, and PRISM International, amongst other outlets. Eliamani is currently at work on her debut novel.

Nayanthara Sri is an Indian American writer of speculative fiction. She thought she was going to grow up to be an astronaut, but she remains an earthbound nomad. She moves every few years, dragging along a mountain of books and an ever-growing spice cabinet. She lives in Washington, DC (for now), with her dog, Churro. Nayanthara’s alter ego researches batteries and will stop talking about electricity if you ask nicely.

Ryan Jafar Artes (he/she/they) is an activist, memoirist, and poet. Ryan re-imagines culture via cultural renaissance from their perspective and lived experience as a transracial, transnational, South Asian Indian American adoptee. Ryan hosts “The Adoptee Open Mic” and teaches virtual writing classes to support their art and activism.

Congratulations to all! We can’t wait to see them — and you — at this year’s conference!

The 2024 Washington Writers Conference happens May 3-4 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Rockville, MD. Only a few spots remain, so REGISTER NOW!

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