Alumna Earns Prestigious Writer’s Award
NECC alumna and West Newbury resident Diannely Antigua was one of 10 emerging writers to receive the prestigious Whiting Award.
The award has been presented annually, for the past 35 years, by the Whiting Foundation to select fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, and playwrights. The prizes are designed to recognize excellence and promise in a spectrum of emerging talent, giving most winners their first chance to devote themselves full-time to their own writing, or to take bold new risks in their work.
Antigua, 30, who graduated from NECC is 2009 with an associate degree in liberal arts, was one of three poets to receive an award of $50,000. She is a Dominican American poet born and raised in Massachusetts. Her debut collection Ugly Music (YesYes Books, 2019) was the winner of the Pamet River Prize. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from UMass Lowell and earned her Master of Fine Arts at New York University. She is the recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers, and the Fine Arts Work Center Summer Program. Her work has been nominated for both the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her poems can be found in Washington Square Review, Bennington Review, the Adroit Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere.
“I feel incredibly honored to be one of 10, 2020 Whiting Award recipients,” Antigua said. “It seems strange to celebrate in such an uncertain time as this, but to me it’s a sign of how important art, namely poetry, is. Poetry has been ever present for me in moments of joy and great pain, and its necessary place is only growing.”
What is next for Antigua?
“I’m going to keep writing poems in hopes that they continue to reach people,,” she said.
The Whiting Awards, remain one of the most esteemed and largest monetary gifts to emerging writers, and are based on the criteria of early-career achievement and the promise of superior literary work to come. A total of $8 million has been awarded to more than 300 fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, and playwrights to date.
“We wish to celebrate extraordinary writers, but we find ourselves in extraordinary times, ones where we are all reinventing how to gather, exchange ideas, and deepen our connections with each other across a necessary distance,” said Courtney Hodell, director of Literary Programs. “As long as literature has existed, it has served this purpose, and we look to writers for their uncanny ability to sift raw experience for its poetry and truth. What we are living now, Whiting writers will reflect back to us in time, with depth and clarity and heart.”