interior banner image

Recipients of Donor Advised Scholarships for the 2019 Emerging Writers Retreat

Recipients of Donor Advised Scholarships for the 2019 Emerging Writers Retreat

Author: Edit Team

August 8, 2019

Lambda Literary, the global leader advancing LGBTQ literature, is pleased to announce full donor-advised scholarships for four students attending the organization’s prestigious summer residency, which is currently being held from August 4-11 at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California.

The Nancy Garden Scholarship 

The Nancy Garden Memorial Scholarship is offered by writer Emily and Sylvia Danforth and supports a Fellow writing LGBTQ young adult content. The Nancy Garden Memorial Scholarship covers the Retreat tuition, room and board, plus transportation costs, up to a total of $2,500. Each year’s Scholarship fellow will be selected by the Young Adult Scholarship Fellowship Committee.

This year’s winner is Jennifer Chukwu, who will join the Young Adult workshop led by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

The scholarship sponsor, Emily M. Danfoth stated:

It’s now been nearly forty years since Nancy Garden first published Annie on My Minda novel that allowed legions of teen readers to, for the very first time, see themselves and the way they love in the pages of a story written for and about them. Jennifer Chukwu is a writer who I have no doubt will both carry and expand-upon Garden‘s legacy of publishing groundbreaking works of fiction for LGBTQIA teens, telling stories that will allow contemporary readers to better know and understand themselves and their lives.

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 2019 winner of the Jeanne Córdova Words Scholarship is New York-based writer Jamiece Adams, who will join the fiction workshop led by Tim Murphy. The Córdova Words Scholarship Committee noted that, “Jamiece Adams is an exciting  young writer whose work offers new and graceful ways of looking at the experiences of non-mainstream queers in the United States.”

The scholarship includes the Retreat tuition, room and board fees plus transportation costs, up to a total of $2,000. 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 Syd Westly, who will join the poetry workshop led by Danez Smith.

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

Syd Westley’s poems follow the ways trauma and history are reborn in the body as alienation, belonging, geography, desire, questions—and our sense of ourselves and the world, as we read them, undergoes mercurial transformations. Westley is a thrillingly gifted writer with so much to offer us.

The scholarship covers the cost of Retreat tuition, room, and board.

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 2019 winner of the Lili Elbe scholarship is Levi Bentley, a poetry fellow working with faculty member Danez Smith.

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 adapted into an Oscar-winning film.

“I am full of admiration [for Levi’s writing]. I hope Levi finds the Retreat encouraging, challenging, and inspiring, and they leave full of energy and ideas.” said sponsoring author David Ebershoff.

The scholarship covers the Retreat tuition, room and board fees plus transportation costs, up to a total of $2,500.

Scholarship Winner Biographies 

Jamiece Adams is a queer writer and high school teacher based in Chicago. She earned her MFA in fiction at Columbia College Chicago. Recently she worked on a multidisciplinary project, Take Care, which examined the roles of intimacy and correspondence; her poem is featured in the limited-edition artist book. Currently, she’s working on a collection of short stories that examines the nature of childhood, friendship, and family by questioning the ways that “home” constructs who we are and who we aren’t. Some of these stories have been published in Hair Trigger, Rabbit: Nonfiction Poetry Journal, The Lindenwood Review, and forthcoming to Hypertext Magazine.



J K Chukwu is a half Nigerian, half Detroitian writer from the Midwest. Her writing is rooted in examining the strangeness, depravity, and trauma that is contained in everyday life. Currently, she is attending Brown University for her MFA in Fiction. Her audio essay “Love Sounds”, published by A Velvet Giant, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has presented her writing and art at University of Wisconsin-Madison, National Louis University, UC Berkeley, and the University of Maryland. Her personal essay is forthcoming in the Black Warrior Review. Find her on Twitter @sadgrossbitch.



Levi Bentley is an artist member at Vox Populi. They teach workshops, most notably through Bluestoop, write for Artblog, and make publications with friends. “Bucolic Eclogue” was released from Lamehouse Press in July 2016.  Chapbooks “Obstacle, Particle, Spectacle,” “&parts”, and “Stub Wilderness” were released from 89plus/LUMA Foundation, Damask Press, and Well Greased Press, respectively. Vitrine released their tape “Red Green Blue.” Poems have appeared through Apiary, Bedfellows, BlazeVOX,  Elective Affinities, Fact-Simile, Gigantic Sequins, Madhouse, Maestra Vida, Magic Pictures, Painted Bride Quarterly, Stillwater Review, The Wanderer, and a variety of other venues.


Syd Westley (they/them) is a queer, mixed-race, non-binary poet currently pursuing their BA from Stanford. They are from the Bay Area, have lived on stolen Ohlone land all their life, and are very interested in the trans-generational effects caused and sustained by Japanese American internment. They love lavender and sleep and are (and always will be) mourning the loss of their recently passed grandmother, Edna Mashihara.


Subscribe to our newsletter