NWP Alum Wins Prestigious Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award

Inara Verzemnieks, a graduate student in the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program (NWP), is one of six 2012 winners of the prestigious Rona Jaffe Writers’ Awards. She will receive the $30,000 award at a Sept. 20 event in New York.

The award, created by celebrated novelist Rona Jaffe to identify and support women writers of unusual talent and promise in the early stages of their writing careers, is presented by the Rona Jaffe Foundation.

Past recipients of the awards—including NWP alumnae Eula Biss and Amy Leach, Iowa Writers' Workshop alumna and now director Lan Samantha Chang, and Writers’ Workshop alumna ZZ Packer—have since received wider critical recognition, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” Award, and the Whiting Writer’s Award.

 

Prior to her arrival at the UI, Verzemnieks worked as a reporter for 13 years at The Oregonian, where she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the James Beard Award in feature writing.

Her creative writing has appeared in The Atlantic and Creative Nonfiction, and she has recently completed a piece entitled “The Last Days of the Baldock” about a group of homeless people who lived at a rest stop off the interstate near Portland, Ore.


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