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The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) was pleased to welcome writer Jaquira Díaz to Mt. San Angelo in November 2022 as the latest recipient of the Alonzo Davis Fellowship.

Named in honor of VCCA Fellow, former VCCA Board member, and visual artist Alonzo Davis, the fellowship offers a free residency of up to two weeks to outstanding American writers, visual artists, and composers of African or Latin American descent. A VCCA residency at Mt. San Angelo includes a private studio, a private bedroom, and three meals a day in a community of cross-disciplinary artists.

“This was my fourth time at VCCA and it feels like a home away from home,” says Díaz. “This was my first time returning since before the pandemic, and I was so thrilled to be there and so excited by all the changes, and impressed by the wonderful staff.”

During her latest VCCA residency, Díaz was primarily focused on finishing her debut novel, I am Deliberate, under contract with Algonquin Books. She also did a little work on an essay collection, the project next in line for Díaz once her novel is submitted. “I’ve been working on this novel since 2019, and the work I did at VCCA is invaluable,” says Díaz. “The kind of quiet contemplation that I find at VCCA is rare, and the work I do would not be possible without it. I am so grateful to have received the Alonzo Davis Fellowship, and grateful that VCCA exists. It is truly a magical place.”


Photos courtesy of Jaquira Díaz from her time at VCCA.

Born in Puerto Rico, Jaquira Díaz was raised between Humacao, Fajardo, and Miami Beach. She is the author of Ordinary Girls: A Memoir, winner of a Whiting Award, a Florida Book Awards Gold Medal, a Lambda Literary Awards finalist, an American Booksellers Association Indies Introduce Selection, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, an Indie Next Pick, a Library Reads pick, and finalist for the B&N Discover Prize. Ordinary Girls was optioned for television and is currently in development at FX with Díaz as Co-Executive Producer.

The recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, and fellowships from MacDowell, the Kenyon Review, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, VCCA, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute, Díaz has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian, Time Magazine, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, and The Fader, and her stories, poems, and essays have been anthologized in The Best American Essays, The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext, Best American Experimental Writing, and The Pushcart Prize anthology. In 2022, she held the Mina Hohenberg Darden Chair in Creative Writing at Old Dominion University’s MFA program and a Pabst Endowed Chair for Master Writers at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and Randolph College’s low-residency MFA program. She splits her time between Miami, Colorado, and the UK with her spouse, the writer Lars Horn.