Northeastern Illinois University English Instructor Amanda Goldblatt is one of 36 recipients nationwide to be awarded a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) 2018 Creative Writing Fellowship in the amount of $25,000.
Through its Creative Writing Fellowships, the NEA gives writers the freedom to create, revise, conduct research and connect with readers. Applications are reviewed by a panel through an anonymous process and are judged solely on the artistic excellence of the work sample provided. Fellowships alternate between poetry and prose each year, and this year’s fellowships are to support prose—works of fiction and creative nonfiction.
“This fellowship means encouragement and support, and is a reminder that writers and artists need be accountable to the people,” Goldblatt said. “I don't mean a writer must serve the people, as a politician or civil servant person must, but that a writer must use their art to interrogate and reflect and engage with the shared world in new ways, to add to the reality and experience of human existence via language. And to do all this while being self-interrogative, and relentlessly aware. Particularly because this grant is federally funded with public money, I take this set of responsibilities very seriously.”
Selected from nearly 1,700 eligible applicants, Goldblatt teaches Creative Writing at Northeastern. Her work has been included in literary journals The Southern Review, the Fanzine, Tammy, Hobart and NOON, and Goldblatt is currently working on a novel, the project for which the fellowship was awarded.
“I was awarded the fellowship to work on a new novel about women, swimming, violence and gentrification set on the Northwest Side of Chicago—chiefly Logan Square, Avondale, Hermosa and Belmont Gardens—so it's not as if I need to travel. But I will be using the fellowship for a few things,” Goldblatt said. “First, I'll be able to take off the summer from teaching and not have to worry quite as much about course loads as an adjunct instructor normally does. I'll also be using some of the funding to take Spanish lessons, so that I can be a more responsible part of my local community.”
Since 1967, the NEA has awarded more than 3,400 Creative Writing Fellowships worth $46 million. Many American recipients of the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Fiction were recipients of NEA fellowships early in their careers.