Wyoming Arts Council

Laura Bell of Cody receives 2014 NEA creative writing fellowship

laura bell

Laura Bell (and friend)

From a press release:

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced that Laura Bell of Cody has been selected to receive a FY 2014 $25,000 Creative Writing Fellowship.

A long-time resident of Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin, Bell has chronicled her experiences as sheepherder, ranch hand, wife, mother and conservationist.  Her work has been published in several collections, and from the Wyoming Arts Council she has received two literature fellowships as well as the Neltje Blanchan Memorial Award and the Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award.  Her memoir, CLAIMING GROUND, was published in 2010 by Alfred A. Knopf.

Bell was awarded this fellowship based on the manuscript submitted in the application and reviewed through an anonymous process in which the only criteria for review are artistic excellence and artistic merit. Bell’s new work in fiction reflects the landscape that has shaped her—the high desert ranges of northwest Wyoming—and evolving themes of loss and transformation.

“This is a formidable group of both emerging and well-established writers,” said NEA Acting Director of Literature Amy Stolls. “They demonstrate an impressive range of styles and subject matter. We are proud to recommend each of them for an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship.”

“I feel deeply honored to be called out and supported by this fellowship,” Bell says, “to feel included in the company of such talented writers. The acknowledgment really challenges me to reach further for what I have to share in my work, to make a difference.  The timing feels powerful.”

In this round, the NEA will support 38 fellowships in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) totaling $950,000. The 38 fellows range in age from 27 to 60 and hail from 18 states around the country. NEA fellowships are highly competitive, in fact for this round the NEA received more than 1,300 eligible manuscripts.

NEA  Creative Writing Fellowships provide non-matching grants of $25,000 to published writers that enable them to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. Successful manuscripts are selected through an anonymous, panel-review process for which the sole review criteria is artistic excellence and merit.

For a complete listing of the FY 2014 NEA Creative Writing Fellows, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.

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