Award winner Martín Espada among writers in new fellowship

November 19, 2021 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — This year’s winner of the National Book Award for poetry, Martín Espada, is among 20 Puerto Rican writers chosen as the inaugural fellows for a program co-founded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Flamboyan Foundation’s Arts Fund.

The Letras Boricuas Fellows are a blend of new and established voices who also include the fiction writers Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa and Francisco Font Acevedo, the creative nonfiction writers Mercy Romero and Vanessa Mártir and children’s writer Mrinali Álvarez Astacio.

Each fellow receives a $25,000 grant.

“Twenty vibrant Puerto Rican voices make up this remarkable initial cohort, each one resonant and powerful, poet Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation, said in a statement Friday. “These are writers who convey the depth and breadth of Puerto Rico’s stories and histories across literary genre and a range of styles, and who affirm the vital significance of the word through their work.”

The two foundations will choose another 20 fellows next year and plan a 2023 gathering in San Juan for the 40 selected writers.