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Recipients of Donor Advised Scholarships for the 2018 Emerging Writers Retreat

Recipients of Donor Advised Scholarships for the 2018 Emerging Writers Retreat

Author: Edit Team

August 8, 2018

Lambda Literary, the global leader advancing LGBTQ literature, is pleased to announce full scholarships for three students attending the organization’s prestigious summer residency, which is currently being held from August 5-12 at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California.

The Jeanne Córdova Words Scholarship

The Jeanne Córdova Words Scholarship, in memory of the beloved activist and author who passed away in January 2016, is given annually in conjunction with Lambda’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. The scholarship is awarded to a lesbian of color or lesbian-identified queer or trans woman of color, working on text with lesbian content in any of the workshop categories excluding poetry.

The 2018 winner of The Jeanne Córdova Words Scholarship is New York-based writer Mariam Bazeed, who will join the nonfiction workshop led by Benoit Denizet-Lewis. The judges chose to award Mariam Bazeed the 2018 Cordova scholarship, for her unique voice and the personal point of view she brings to her writing.

Lynn Ballen, Jeanne Córdova’s spouse, noted that “Jeanne’s own experience as a participant at the first Lambda Emerging Writers Retreat in 2007 helped her to complete a Lammy-award winning memoir, When We Were Outlaws, and inspired her to create this scholarship, to support future community storytellers.”

The scholarship includes the Retreat tuition, room and board fees plus transportation costs, up to a total of $2,500. Each year’s Scholarship awardee are selected by the Córdova Words Scholarship Committee, from a list of writers accepted to the Retreat who meet the scholarship criteria.

The Justin Chin Memorial Scholarship

Sponsored by Alexander Chee and Christine Lee, The Justin Chin Memorial Scholarship is offered in memory of the late author Justin Chin, and supports a queer, Asian American Pacific Islander writer, writing queer content in any of the genres offered at the Lambda Literary Retreat for LGBTQ Voices.

The 2018 winner of the Justin Chin Memorial Scholarship writer Ricco Villanueva Siasoco, who will join the fiction workshop led by Chinelo Okparanta.

On Siasoco’s work, Alexander Chee and Christine Lee said,

There are [writings] you come across that you immediately want to publish, or that you wish you’d written, or that make you wish for more writing from the author–to see if they have a book, or the entire arsenal of their literary canon. Ricco Siasoco’s Dandy is that—and from his transformation of the theme of Dante’s Inferno and the implications of punishment, to the flawed first person narrator and protagonist, Siasoco shows a command of craft and emotional depth in Dandy’s writing, creating a risk-taking piece that will stay with you a long time, if not forever. This made him our clear choice for the first Justin Chin fellowship, and we cannot wait to see what he’ll do next.

The scholarship covers the Retreat tuition fees.

Lili Elbe Scholarship

Honoring the life and legacy of transgender pioneer Lili Elbe, the Lili Elbe Scholarship recognizes a trans Lambda Literary Fellow in any genre whose work shows considerable talent and promise. A Danish trans woman, Lili Elbe was one of the earliest recipients of gender confirmation surgery.

The 2018 winner of the Lili Elbe scholarship is Wryly McCutchen, a poetry fellow working with faculty member Ryka Aoki.

The scholarship is sponsored by David Ebershoff, whose first novel about Elbe, The Danish Girl, won the Lambda Literary Award for transgender fiction and was recently adapted into an Oscar-winning film.

“Wryly McCuthen’s unique voice, their courage, and their resilient spirit make them a wonderful recipient of the first Lili Elbe scholarship,” said sponsoring author David Ebershoff.

The scholarship covers the Retreat tuition, room and board fees plus transportation costs, up to a total of $2000.

Scholarship Winner Biographies 


Mariam Bazeed is a non-binary Egyptian immigrant living in a rent-stabilized apartment in Brooklyn. She has an MFA in Fiction from Hunter College. In addition to being an alliteration-leaning writer of prose, poetry, plays, and personal essays, Mariam is a singer and performance artist. She is a current fellow at the Center for Fiction, and has received fellowships from the Asian American Writers Workshop, the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at NYU, and Lambda Literary. She has been awarded residencies at the Marble House Project, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, and Hedgebrook. Mariam runs a monthly world-music salon in Brooklyn and is a slow student of Arabic music.


Ricco Villanueva Siasoco has published in AGNIJoylandPost RoadThe North American Review and numerous anthologies. In 2013, he was selected as a NYC Emerging Writer Fellow from The Center for Fiction. Ricco received his MFA from Bennington College and has taught at Columbia University, Boston College, and the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. He works at the Chadwick School in Los Angeles and serves as a board member for Kundiman, a literary nonprofit dedicated to writers and readers of Asian American literature. Ricco’s short story collection, The Foley Artist, is forthcoming from Gaudy Boy in 2019.


Wryly T. McCutchen is a poet, hybrid writer and community educator teaching, writing, and surviving in the Pacific Northwest. Their poetry and nonfiction has appeared in Foglifter, Lady/Liberty/Lit, Tiferet JournalWilde Magazine, Alive With Vigor, and Raven Chronicles. They were awarded an MFA in creative writing with dual concentration in creative nonfiction and poetry from Antioch University. Their first poetry manuscript, My Ugly and Other Love Snarls, is available from University of Hell Press. Their first memoir is in progress.


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