NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship

Congratulations to Our 2016 Fellows


The Center for Fiction is pleased to announce our 2016 NYC Emerging Writers Fellows: Daniel DiStefano, Marie Holmes, Kay Iguh, Swati Khurana, Hafeez Lakhani, Danny Lorberbaum, Zulma Ortiz-Fuentes, Dan Sheehan, and Erin Somers. 


Daniel DiStefano holds an MFA in Fiction from the Helen Zell Writers' Program at the University of Michigan. His writing has appeared in Indiana Review, Whitefish Review, on the Missouri Review podcast, and on the blogs for Ploughshares and Michigan Quarterly Review. A New Jersey native, he now lives in Queens with his criminally adorable dog.  

Marie Holmes' fiction has appeared in the Los Angeles Review and other literary magazines. She has won the Gival Press Short Story Award and the Bronx Writer's Center Chapter One Fiction Competition. Her personal essays have appeared in Refinery 29, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. She teaches in New York City's public schools and lives in Upper Manhattan with her family. 

Kay Iguh is a fiction writer and graduate of the Creative Writing Program at New York University. She attended the New York State Summer Writer’s Institute at Skidmore College in 2013 and will complete a four-week residency at the Vermont Studio Center in June. Her short story “House Girl” won the 2016 Disquiet Literary Prize and will be published in Guernica in July of the same year. She currently teaches creative writing to high school students. A native Nigerian, she grew up in Houston and now lives in Brooklyn.

Swati Khurana has been published in The New York Times, Guernica, The Offing, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She has exhibited at the DUMBO Arts Festival, Queens Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and received awards from Jerome Foundation, Bronx Council of the Arts, Cooper Union, and Center for Book Arts. A graduate of the MFA Fiction program at Hunter College and Kundiman fellow, she is writing a novel titled The No.1 Printshop of Lahore.

Hafeez Lakhani was born in Hyderabad, India and raised in suburban South Florida. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crazyhorse, Exposition Review, Salt Hill, Tikkun, The Cortland Review, and The Southern Review, where his essay “If We Show That We Like They Make More Mainga” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has won Finalist for the Glimmer Train New Writers Award and The Indiana Review Nonfiction Prize, alongside a PEN Emerging Voice Fellowship. In 2015 he was recognized with a Notable Essay in Best American Essays and was profiled by The Huffington Post as one of “Eight Fantastic New Writers To Look Out For”. In former lives an NGO field worker in India and a commodities trader on Wall Street, he divides his time now between teaching and writing.


Danny Lorberbaum is a graduate of the MFA Program at Hunter College. His work has appeared in Guernica and Southwest Review, where it received the McGinnis-Ritchie Award. In 2016, he was the recipient of a fellowship from the MacDowell Colony. He lives in Brooklyn.

Zulma Ortiz-Fuentes was born in Puerto Rico but has lived most of her life in Brooklyn. She received a BA in English from the University of Puerto Rico and an MA in English Literature from New York University. She taught middle and high school English in New York City public schools for twelve years. Currently she teaches yoga and is working on a collection of short stories. Her work has appeared in bosque (the magazine) and The Prose Project.

Dan Sheehan is an Irish fiction writer, journalist, and editor. His writing has appeared in The Irish Times, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, TriQuarterly, Words Without Borders, Electric Literature, Literary Hub and numerous other publications. He lives in New York, where he is currently working for Literary Hub and as a non-fiction editor for Guernica Magazine.

Erin Somers' fiction has appeared in the Cincinnati Review, Tin House Open Bar, Gigantic, and elsewhere. She has won prizes from Green Mountains Review and American Short Fiction. The recipient of a 2016 residency from the Millay Colony, she holds an MFA from the University of New Hampshire. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.


About the NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship


This program is generously funded by a grant from the Jerome Foundation, matched by additional funds from individuals. We selected nine writers in 2016 and during the one-year fellowship period grantees will receive:


  • • A grant of $5,000
  • • The option to engage in a mentorship with a selected freelance editor  

  • • The opportunity to meet with agents who represent new writers

  • • A Center for Fiction membership that includes borrowing privileges for our collection of new fiction and fiction-related titles

  • • Free admission to all Center events for one year, including tickets to our First Novel Fete, and Benefit Dinner as space allows

  • • 30% discount on tuition at select writing workshops at the Center

  • • Two public readings as part of our annual program of events and inclusion in an anthology distributed to industry professionals

  • • A professional headshot with a photographer for personal publicity use  


The 2016 fellows were selected by our judges: Sophie McManus (The Unfortunates), Tracy O'Neill (The Hopeful), and Steve Toltz (Quicksand). We want to extend a huge thank you to all who submitted!  



2015 Fellows















The 2015 Center for Fiction Fellows were: Naomi Feigelson ChaseLisa ChenNicola DeRobertis-Theye, t’ai freedom ford, Anu Jindal, Stephen Langlois, Melissa Rivero, Samantha Storey, and Ruchika Tomar. All photos by misaki matsui. These photos were provided as part of the fellowship. 


Click here to view the video of the fellows reading their work in October 2015.



2014 Fellows


Lisa Armstrong (Brooklyn), Cedrick Mendoza-Tolentino (Manhattan), Stephanie Miki Arndt (Manhattan), Dwyer Murphy (Brooklyn), Zeeva Bukai (Brooklyn), Belal Rafiq (Manhattan), Elysha Chang (Brooklyn), Wil Weitzel (Manhattan), and Su-Yee Lin (Queens).


Click here to view the video of the fellows reading their work in October 2014.




2013 Fellows




The 2013 Center for Fiction Fellows were: Lexi Freiman, Patricia Park, Jane Rose Porter, Onnesha Roychoudhuri, Ricco Villanueva Siasoco, Bezalel Stern, Lauren Wilkinson, Brennen Wysong, and Courtney Zoffness.


Click here to view the video of the fellows reading their work in September 2013.





2012 Fellows



The 2012 Center for Fiction fellows were: Leopoldine CoreRosalie KnechtLisa LeeDaniel Long, Manuel MartinezTracy O'Neill, Tim O'SullivanJackie Reitzes, and Seamus Scanlon


Click here for the video of the fellows reading their work in October 2012.





2011 Fellows


The 2011 Center for Fiction Fellows were: Ted Bajek, Marie-Helene Bertino, Mitchell Jackson, Caleb Leisure, Geneviève Mathis, Elizabeth Shah-Hosseini, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan and James Yeh.


Click here to watch the video of the fellows reading their work in October 2011.









The Center for Fiction Fellowships for NYC Early Career Writers are made possible through a grant from The Jerome Foundation with matching funds from individual donors.


Please join The Jerome Foundation in supporting New York City's most talented early career writers, and help us grow this important program. 



Books by

Our Former Fellows!

Safe As Houses

by Marie-Helene Bertino

2 a.m. at The Cat's Pajamas

by Marie-Helene Bertino

The Journals of Empress Galla Placidia from her Faithful Servant Lepida
  by Naomi Feigelson Chase

When Watched

by Leopoldine Core



  The Residue Years

by Mitchell S. Jackson



  Relief Map

by Rosalie Knecht


 The Hopeful

by Tracy O'Neill

Re Jane

by Patricia Park

  Go To Hells: An Updated Guide to Dante's Underworld by Onnesha Roychoudhuri


  As Close As You'll Ever Be

by Seamus Scanlon


  Blue Talk and Love

by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan 



And look out for L'American by Lauren Wilkinson, forthcoming