Five Idaho writers have been awarded Literature Fellowships from the Idaho Commission on the Arts: Peter Chilson (Moscow), Emily Ruskovich (Idaho City), Samantha Silva (Boise), Joel Wayne (Boise), and CL Young (Boise). Fellowship recipients will each receive $5,000. The awards, given every two years, recognize outstanding writers, honoring work deemed to exhibit the highest artistic merit during peer review. Applicants were reviewed anonymously in a highly competitive process by panelists from out of state and were judged solely on the basis of existing work and professional history. The panel also awarded Honorable Mentions in the amount of $1,000 to Susan Goslee (Pocatello), Nicole Cullen (Boise) and Annie Lampman (Moscow).

Peter Chilson lives in Moscow, Idaho and teaches writing and literature at Washington State University. His essays and fiction have appeared in The American ScholarAscentConsequenceFourth GenreHigh Country NewsGulf CoastForeign PolicyThe New England ReviewNew Letters, and elsewhere. He has written three books on Africa, including We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali. His most recent book is the travel writing guide, Writing Abroad (co-authored with Joanne Mulcahy).

Emily Ruskovich grew up in the Idaho Panhandle on Hoodoo Mountain. Her writing has appeared in Zoetrope, the Virginia Quarterly Review, One Store, The New York Times, the Paris Review and Lit Hub. Her L.A. Times bestselling novel Idaho is the winner of the Dublin Literary Award. She is the winner of an O. Henry Award, the Idaho Book Award and a Pacific Northwest Book Award. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she currently teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Boise State University.

Samantha Silva is an author and screenwriter based in Idaho. Mr. Dickens and His Carol is her debut novel. Over her career she’s sold film projects to Paramount, Universal, New Line Cinema and TNT. A film adaptation of her short story, The Big Burn, won the 1 Potato Short Screenplay Competition at the Sun Valley Film Festival in 2017. Silva graduated from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, where she studied in Bologna, Italy and Washington, D.C.

Joel Wayne is a writer and producer from Boise, Idaho. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Chattahoochee Review, The Moth, and Salon, among other places. He has won the Silver Creek Writer’s Residency, the Lamar York Prize, and is a Pushcart nominee. Wayne produces the NPR-affiliate programs Reader’s Corner and You Know The Place for Boise State Public Radio, and serves as a judge for the annual Scholastic Writing Awards.

CL Young is the author of two chapbooks, including What Is Revealed When I Reveal It to You (dancing girl press, 2018). Her work has appeared in Lana Turner, the PEN Poetry Series, Pinwheel, Sixth Finch, The Volta, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Colorado State University and lives in Boise, where she runs a reading and workshop series called Sema.

ABOUT THE PANELISTS                

Diana Marie Delgado’s debut poetry collection, “Tracing the Horse,” is forthcoming from BOA Editions (Fall, 2019). She is the author of the chapbook “Late Night Talks with Men I Think I Trust” (Center for Book Arts, 2015) and is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts fellow. The current Literary Director of the Poetry Center at the University of Arizona, she holds an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University.

Jesse Donaldson was born and raised in Kentucky and currently lives in Oregon. He attended the Michener Center for Writers in Texas, Oregon State University, and has received writing fellowships from Tin House and Bread Loaf. He is the author of two books, The More They Disappear and On Homesickness.

Apricot Irving is the author of The Gospel of Trees, a lyrical meditation on ecology, loss, and the tangled history of missions in Haiti, which won an Oregon Book Award. She is the recipient of a Literary Arts Creative Nonfiction Fellowship and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and her writing has appeared in GrantaOn BeingTopic Magazine, Tin HouseOregon Humanities, and the anthology Best Women’s Travel Writing. Raised as missionary’s daughter in Haiti, she has also waited tables, dug trees in the rain, and taught literature and writing to students in Indonesia, Shanghai, Ireland, the U.K. and the U.S. She reported from Haiti on post-earthquake rebuilding efforts for the radio program This American Life and is the founder and director of the Boise Voices Oral History Project, a collaboration between youth and elders to record the stories of a gentrifying neighborhood in N/NE Portland. She lives in the Columbia River Gorge with her husband and their two wildly imaginative boys.

EJ Levy’s story collection, Love, In Theory, received a 2012 Flannery O’Connor Award, a 2012 Foreword Book of the Year Award (Bronze), the 2014 GLCA New Writers Award, and was named a 2013 Kirkus Best Indie Book of the Year; Cheryl Strayed called it “a brilliant debut” and Roxane Gay called it a “smart, smart book.” Levy is also editor of Tasting Life Twice: Literary Lesbian Fiction by New American Writers (Avon), winner of the Lambda Literary Award. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, The New York Times, Orion, Salon, Best American Essays, The Washington Post, and The Nation, among other places, and have been widely anthologized. She earned a degree in History from Yale and has worked as an environmental and LGBTQ activist and magazine editor. She is an Associate Professor at Colorado State University. Her debut novel, The Cape Doctor, is forthcoming from Little Brown.

Michael Mejia is the author of the novels Forgetfulness and TOKYO (both published by FC2), and his writing has appeared in many journals and anthologies. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, he is editor-in-chief of Western Humanities Review, co-founding editor of Ninebark Press, and a professor of creative writing at the University of Utah.

A former Broadway assistant director, Nicole Pouchet is a published novelist and a screenwriter for Zombie Orpheus Entertainment’s award-winning, fantasy TV series, Strowlers. Her screenplays have earned finalist placements in PAGE International Screenwriting Award and Tracking Board Launchpad’s Contest. Books from her paranormal romance series have ranked #1 on bestseller lists and won a second prize in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Her latest manuscript won first place in a Romance Writers of America contest. Nicole is a Board Member for the Northwest Screenwriters Guild and a guest lecturer for the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. She graduated from Duke University with a focus on film and video. Since selling her marketing agency in 2016, Nicole spends her hours writing and raising two sons with her spouse.