Erin Roberts is the recipient of the Speculative Fiction Foundation’s 2017 Diverse Writers Grant and 2017 Diverse Worlds Grant. The two $500 awards support any purpose that a writer recipient chooses to benefit their work. Both awards are intended to foster the creation of speculative fiction work rich in diversity by facilitating completion of new, in-progress work, rather than recognizing already-published work.
Roberts said, “Winning an award for writing about diverse worlds as a person of color is a special honor for me because I know that one of the reasons that I am drawn to and able to tell the stories that I do is that because I am a black woman in America. I love filling my stories with the type of people I grew up with, that I am friends with, that I live and love and laugh with, with all their joys and sorrows and quirks and flaws.” She writes the stories that she does, “because of who I am.” Her website is Writing Wonder.
- The $500 Diverse Writers grant is “intended to support new and emerging writers from underrepresented and underprivileged groups, such as writers of color, women, queer writers, disabled writers, working-class writers, etc. — those whose marginalized identities may present additional obstacles in the writing/publishing process.”
- The $500 Diverse Worlds grant is “intended for work that best presents a diverse world, regardless of the writer’s background.”
Erin Roberts’ work has been published or is forthcoming in Podcastle and The Dark. Her non-fiction has been publishing in Tor.com and in People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy, People of Color Take Over Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, and Cascadia Subduction Zone. She is an MFA candidate at Stonecoast and a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and is a writer or editor for Zombies, Run!, Stonecoast Review, and Escape Pod.
Roberts says, “I have always been drawn to things beyond the world we see around us.” She says she writes stories of outcasts, and about “of the burdens placed on people by the societies they live in, of the ones who get left behind when technology takes a step forward.”
In 2016, there were 12 applications for the grants, which are awarded by a volunteer jury based on merit. This year’s jurors were led by Managing Director Malon Edwards.
The Honorable Mentions for the Diverse Writers grant were Lindsay Wong, Nibedita Sen, Maria Isabel Alvarez, and Julie Steinbacher, while the Honourable Mentions for the Diverse Worlds grant were Nia Davenport, LA Davis, and Julie Steinbacher.
The 2015 winner of both grants was author Carmen Maria Machado, whose short fiction collection, Her Body and Other Parties: Stories, was a finalist for the National Book Award. The 2016 winners were Gabriel Thibodeau and Eden Royce.
Founded in January, 2004 to promote literary quality in speculative fiction, the all-volunteer Foundation is led by Mary Anne Mohanraj and 30 other volunteers. The Foundation maintains a comprehensive website offering information for readers, writers, editors and publishers of speculative fiction, develops book lists and outreach materials for schools and libraries, and raises funds for redistribution to other organizations in the field, as well as four awards made annually to writers.
[Based on the press release.]