The Meek Awards NEW at TFR

We’re a bit late in getting this news on the website, but we’re proud to announce that a new donor has made it possible for us to select one author or artist (or to split the award between two) in each of our publication categories each year. These writers and artists are some of those who come to us through general submissions rather than contests or other means. At The Florida Review, we recognize that writers deserve to be paid for their work, and, though it remains financially impossible for us to provide remuneration for every writer and artist, we are happy that now every writer who submits to The Florida Review and Aquifer has at least the possibility.

For the inaugural 2017 year, we selected the following writers and artists for this special recognition. They represent the kind of work we love to publish at The Florida Review and Aquifer–both personally moving and aware of the wider world.

  • Esteban Rodriguez (“Roadside,” 41.2) and Sherrie Fernandez-Williams (“the crossing,” Aquifer) for poetry
  • Laura Farnsworth (“Salvio: A Short Story,” Aquifer) for fiction
  • Re’Lynn Hansen (“The Han Gan,” 41.1) for nonfiction [also recipient of recognition as a Notable Essays in The Best American Essays 2018]
  • Aubrey Hirsch (“The Language of Trauma,” 41.1) for graphic narrative
  • Hannah Kaplan (“Dear Doctor,” Aquifer) for digital/electronic story
  • Jave Yoshimoto (“Meditation on the Purpose of Art Making,” Aquifer) for visual art

Congratulations to these and all of the other wonderful writers and artists we publish. In 2018, we will be adding a winner in the short film category as well, and look for that announcement sooner than November!


Meditation on the Purpose of Art Making

In my works, I attempt to capture some of the narratives that I heard from first-hand accounts while volunteering on Lesvos Island in Greece in December of 2016. What I’ve discovered thus far, is that the refugees are from all around the world, rather than only being from Syria as depicted in the media. I have also come to discover that the news coverage on the topic is often sensationalized, and even sometimes re-enacted for the sake of reporting. The stories of the local villagers and the volunteers seem often forgotten or ignored, and the refugees are used in narratives that sometimes are simply not true. More importantly, I wish to capture the humanitarian tale amongst this crisis, hoping that in turn, my viewers can be inspired to assist refugees or anyone who has suffered a great loss due to manmade or natural disasters.