STEPHEN NARAIN, nominated by Jenna Johnson
Stephen Narain was raised in the Bahamas and holds Guyanese and American passports. A graduate of Harvard College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he won a John Thouron Prize for Study at the University of Cambridge, a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, and grants from the Vermont Studio Center and the Corporation of Yaddo. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the Caribbean Review of Books, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, edited by Marlon James. A recipient of the 2010 Small Axe Fiction Prize and the 2014 Alice Yard Prize for Art Writing, in 2012 he was selected for the NGC Bocas Lit Fest’s New Talent Showcase, spotlighting the best emerging Caribbean writers. Stephen is at work on a novel, as well as a book of essays and conversations examining cultural change in the post-independence Caribbean.
AMANDA RUSHER FOUSHEE, nominated by Ron Carlson
Amanda Rusher Foushee was born in Palo Alto, CA and raised in Washington, DC. A recipient of the Arlene Cheng Graduate Fellowship, she received her MFA from UC Irvine’s Graduate Programs in Writing in Spring 2015. She is currently working on a novel and heads the English Department at the Episcopal School of Los Angeles.
A.L. MAJOR, nominated by Jessica Friedman
A.L. Major was born and raised in the Bahamas. A recipient of the Harry Moore scholarship and Vassar’s Ann E. Imbrie Prize in Fiction, A.L. received her MFA from the Helen Zell Writer’s Program at the University of Michigan, where she received a Hopwood Novel Award. She was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2013. Her work has appeared in Vice and Subtropics.
A.K. SMALL, nominated by Ann Hood
A.K. Small is a French-American writer. She is a graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts and has attended literary conferences like Bread Loaf and Writers-In-Paradise. She recently finished her first novel, RAT-GIRLS and writes a column for Barrelhouse Magazine. Her fiction has appeared in various journals. She is the mother of three girls and lives in Pittsburgh, PA and in Paris, France.
ESTHER AMINI, nominated by Ned Leavitt
Prior to beginning her memoir, Esther Amini worked for thirty-five years in private practice as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and was on the faculty of The New York School for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. Her stories have been published in Elle Magazine, Tablet Magazine, The Jewish Week, Barnard Magazine, Lilith, and Inscape Literary Magazine. The Jewish Women’s Theatre in Los Angeles performed four of Amini’s stories, and two were recently staged in a show called “Saffron and Rosewater” at the 92nd Street Y, a cultural institution and community center in New York City.
SARAH EISNER, nominated by Mark Sundeen
Sarah Eisner has published essays in The Rumpus, Salon, The Toast, and Fast Company. A Bay Area native, mother of two, and recovering engineer and entrepreneur who co-founded multiple tech startups, Eisner is currently at work on a memoir in the form of linked essays about identity, ambition, and motherhood. She studies creative nonfiction in the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University, most recently under the mentorship of Leslie Jamison and Mark Sundeen. She has a masters degree in engineering from Stanford University and lives in Silicon Valley.
JESSICA LYNN SUCHON, nominated by Allison Joseph
Jessica Lynn Suchon is an MFA candidate at Southern Illinois University. Formerly a script consultant, fashion journalist and associate stylist in Los Angeles, her creative work has been featured or is forthcoming in Flaunt, Schön, Hunger, the Blaquefyre Independent Film Festival, Femsplain, and Rust + Moth.