The Inaugural Letras Boricuas Fellowship

[Many thanks to Maritza Stanchich for bringing this item to our attention.] Twenty Puerto Rican writers, including poets Martín Espada (National Book Awards finalist) and María Teresa Fernández Rosario (AKA Mariposa) received the inaugural Letras Boricuas Fellowship. The Letras Boricuas Fellowship, created by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Flamboyán Foundation’s Arts Fund, aims to enrich and sustain literary tradition in Puerto Rico and across the US diaspora.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Flamboyan Foundation’s Arts Fund today announced the inaugural cohort of Letras Boricuas Fellows – 20 Puerto Rican writers whose dynamic work spans genres including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and children’s literature. A first-of-its-kind fellowship, Letras Boricuas was created to identify, elevate, and amplify the voices of emerging and established Puerto Rican writers on the island and across the United States diaspora.

The fellowship provides crucial support both across the diaspora, and to the community of writers in Puerto Rico who have endured and continue their practice through repeated natural disasters and ongoing political turmoil, despite historically limited opportunities to share their work with a broader audience. By providing unrestricted funds and fostering connection among its recipients, the fellowship will support Puerto Rico’s celebrated literary lineage — a discipline traditionally under-resourced and underfunded both in Puerto Rico and in the United States — illustrate the diversity of these writers’ experiences and showcase incredible Puerto Rican literary voices.

“Twenty vibrant Puerto Rican voices make up this remarkable initial cohort, each one resonant and powerful. These are writers who convey the depth and breadth of Puerto Rico’s stories and histories across literary genre and a range of styles, and who affirm the vital significance of the word through their work,” says Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation. “We at Mellon are delighted to continue our multi-year commitment to Puerto Rican writers, and to partner with the Flamboyan Foundation to support these 2021 fellows with the unrestricted funding and flexibility that is so important to their craft.”

“The Letras Boricuas Fellowship exemplifies the Flamboyan Arts Fund’s goal of supporting and sustaining Puerto Rico’s vibrant humanities ecosystem. We are proud to announce a diverse cohort of 2021 fellows — writers of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and children’s literature — and to deepen our commitment to this work with the Mellon Foundation,” says Carlos Rodríguez Silvestre, Executive Director of Flamboyan Foundation Puerto Rico.

The 2021 Letras Boricuas Fellows are:

Fiction

Amina Lolita Gautier

Cezanne Cardona

Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

Francisco Font Acevedo

Juanluís Ramos

Luis Negrón

Manolo Núñez Negrón

Sergio Gutiérrez

Creative Nonfiction

Mercy Romero

Vanessa Mártir

Xavier Valcárcel

Yara Liceaga Rojas

Poetry

Amanda Hernández

Carmen R. Marín

Francisco Félix

Jonatan María Reyes

María Teresa Fernández Rosario a.k.a. Mariposa

Martín Espada

Mónica A. Jiménez

Children’s Literature

Mrinali Álvarez Astacio

The 2021 Letras Boricuas fellows were selected by a committee of acclaimed Puerto Rican writers based on the archipelago and in the United States, including Mayra Santos Febres (Puerto Rico-based), Eduardo Lalo (Puerto Rico-based), Félix Joaquín Rivera (Puerto Rico-based), Carina Del Valle Schorske (US-based), Willie Perdomo (US-based), and Aracelis Girmay (US-based).

For more information on each writer, see https://mellon.org/news-blog/articles/twenty-puerto-rican-writers-receive-inaugural-letras-boricuas-fellowship/

Also see https://flamboyanfoundation.org/letras-boricuas/

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