2016 Fellows: What we’re working on

We recently announced the 2016 class of Emerging Writer Fellows, a group of seven talented new literary voices on the cusp of their careers. You can check out their bios here. They will join us at Aspen Summer Words this June for five days of writing workshops in a variety of genres, as well as meetings with publishing professionals, and plenty of literary festivities. Below is a glimpse at what they’re working on. We are looking forward to helping them develop these projects further in just a few short months!


Narrain_webStephen is currently working on a novel about the Singhs, a Guyanese-American family, moving through their history from New York City to Boston to Guyana to Trinidad to India and back. The novel opens with an engagement between Shiva, the Singhs’ younger son, and his boyfriend, and ends with their wedding. Between those bookends, the novel explores how the family deals with cultural change, shifting their ideas on love and history and faith and inheritance. He is also at work on an essay collection focused on cultural change in the post-independence Caribbean.


ALMajorA.L. is currently working on her first novel Dismantle The Sun, which begins three months after Allan, a neurotic British-American, breaks off his engagement to a young Bahamian woman, Zora. After Allan asks his friend Jim to hack into Zora’s laptop, a series of events unfold that cause the lives of five people to collide and intersect. Zora’s homecoming to the Bahamas doesn’t go as planned.  Allan struggles to find a new love. Jim, an internet security expert, finds his own life hacked. RawE, a YouTube vlogger, wants to share her life with her viewers but no one is watching. Morgan, a young Bahamian hustler, does whatever it takes to immigrate to the U.S. Each of these characters tries to define themselves in an increasingly porous world, but when the self is an invention, how do we find our bearings? Dismantle the Sun is a vivid reflection of the restlessness of the 21st century. 


Amini_for webEsther is working on a memoir entitled Killing My Father.  It’s about growing up first generation American in an Iranian/Orthodox Jewish home during the 1950s and 60s in Queens, New York. Her parents were from the Iranian city of Mashhad. Orphaned at birth, her mother was strong-armed, at age 14 into marrying Esther’s then 34 year-old father. Due to life-threatening anti-Semitism, they lived underground lives, just like the Marranos of Spain. At the end of World War II, incensed by persecution, her mother dragooned Esther’s father and two brothers to the States, where Esther was born. Growing up first generation American, she was baffled, amused, enraged and in awe of her family.  Her father’s terror of the outside world and her mother’s hunger for it spilled into their raucous home. Possessed by family, she was on a mission to become self-possessed. Her freedom, she learns, grew from immigrant ligaments, a tangled legacy:  Mashhad, veiled women, illiteracy, duplicity, endangerment, and die-hard Jews hiding beneath a thin layer of Islamic icing.


Eisner photo

Sarah is working on a collection of linked essays about the aftermath of a “failed” startup. Her work gives an insider’s view of the male dominated tech world in Silicon Valley from the perspective of a female entrepreneur and mother who has just been fired from her own company and come back home to parcel out snacks and wrestle with the feeling of failure. The collection is a voice-driven exploration of ambition and the ecosystems it produces, the tension between work and motherhood (a familiar idea explored in new and sensitive ways), and the very nature of identity—where and how we glean our sense of self, and how we build and rebuild it.



Jessica is working toward her MFA in Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University and writing two full-length poetry collections centered on womanhood and her personal history with sexual assault, domestic violence, and reproductive rights.



 AK small for webA.K. is writing a new YA novel titled Time Out Paris about a sixteen-year-old American who is sent to live with her father in Paris and who must adapt not only to the City of Lights but to a Parisian high school. She is also revising Rat-Girls, one last time.



In its commitment to support new literary voices, Aspen Words provides Summer Words fellowships to emerging writers demonstrating exceptional talent and promise. Candidates are nominated by writers, agents, editors and others associated with publishing. In 2016, we received one hundred and sixty fellowship nominations. Fellows receive a full scholarship to Summer Words, including tuition, airfare, lodging and some meals. 


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