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I was honored to serve as a juror for the Speculative Literature Foundation's 2020 Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds Grants over the past several months. The recipients have been announced and the press release is included below.
To the recipients of the grants, I extend sincere congratulations. The significant differences in the style and subject of the two winning applications should serve as a reminder to everyone to write what you feel, to strive to write a well-crafted story in your own voice. This is what both Kanyinsola and Tatiana did and their awards are well deserved.
By the same token, there were a number of other finalists whose applications were absolutely of high-enough quality to have been justified in receiving high honors. If you have submitted to this or other competitive events and not come out on top, don't let it stop you from moving forward. If you know your work is good, get it back out into the pipeline. If you know your work needs some more, well, some more work, then take this as an opportunity to polish and tweak and improve it.
Kudos to the SLF for its efforts in support of Spec Lit and particularly to Grants Administrator L.D. Lewis for riding herd on this project.
"The Speculative Literature Foundation has announced that Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is the winner of the 2020 Diverse Writers Grant and Tatiana Schlote-Bonne is the winner of the 2020 Diverse Worlds Grant.
Kanyinsola Olorunnisola: Olorunnisola was awarded the Diverse Writers Grant for his work “How Dead Men Come Back Home.” He is an experimental poet, essayist, and writer of fiction. His work interrogates black histories, futures, identities and spirituality. He has been published in Popula, Jalada, Gertrude, Bakwa, The Account, Bodega, Kalahari Review, On the Seawall, and elsewhere. He has published a chapbook: “In My Country, We’re All Crossdressers” (Praxis, 2018). He is currently working on a full-length poetry collection and a dark fantasy novel set in colonial Africa. He is the founder of SprinNG, one of Africa’s foremost platforms dedicated solely to growing young literary talent, and the Fiction Editor at Kreative Diadem. He currently lives and writes in Lagos, Nigeria. Reach him at email@example.com.
Tatiana Schlote-Bonne: Schlote-Bonne was awarded the Diverse Worlds grant for her work “The Afterlife Memoirs”. She is a 2nd year MFA candidate in The Nonfiction Writing Program at The University of Iowa. The Diverse Worlds grant will aid her in completing her work-in-progress: a young adult novel told from the perspective of Lucina, a mixed-race Japanese girl who’s awakened as a ghost and must resolve her unfinished business and learn how to haunt. Tatiana’s essays have been published in F(r)iction, Dogwood, Emrys Journal, and The Iowa Review blog. In her free time, she lifts weights and plays video games. Her website is tatiana-schlote-bonne.com.
The Speculative Literature Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit and these two diversity grants are entirely funded by donations from the community."