By Mollie Guerrero |
June 10, 2020

Read: Local writer wins Hurston/Wright literary award in the Orlando Sentinel

Creative Writing alumna Melanie Farmer ’20MFA has won the 2020 Crossover Award for her piece titled “Rolling: A Ladies’ Guide to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.” The competition was judged by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Colson Whitehead. In selecting Farmer’s piece, Whitehead said, “‘Rolling: A Ladies’ Guide to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’ is a wise and wry take on identity formation, parental expectations, and proper martial arts attire. Following a young woman’s journey from student to teacher, this thoughtful essay’s nimble voice provides a lively exploration of family bonds and the search for self-mastery.”

The Crossover Award, which debuted this year in partnership with ESPN’s The Undefeated, is the Hurston/Wright Foundation’s newest award. The award honors probing, provocative, and original new voices in literary nonfiction. Nearly 30 adult writers from over 20 states submitted their work for the 2020 competition, which is judged blindly.

Farmer will be honored at the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation was created in 1990 in Washington, D.C., and is dedicated to discovering, mentoring and honoring Black writers. Through workshops, master classes and readings, the organization preserves the voices of Black writers in the world literary canon, serves as a community for writers, and continues a tradition of literary excellence in storytelling established by its namesakes.

For more information about the Creative Writing program and the opportunities available, check out the English Department here.