On Wednesday, March 29, the New York City-based Whiting Foundation announced the 10 new Whiting Award winners—an eminent list that included CalArts alum and Critical Studies faculty Carribean Fragoza (Critical Studies MFA 10) for fiction. Author of the collection Eat the Mouth That Feeds You, the 2023 Whiting judges noted that Fragoza’s short stories “meld gothic horror with the loved and resented rhythms of ordinary life, unfolding the complex interiority of her Chicanx characters.”
The awards, which come with a $50,000 prize, are designed to recognize excellence and promise in emerging writers, allowing most winners the first chance to devote themselves full time to their own writing or to take bold risks in their work.
The nine other 2023 Whiting Award winners are Tommye Blount (poetry), Mia Chung (drama), Ama Codjoe (poetry), Marcia Douglas (fiction), Sidik Fofana (fiction), R. Kikuo Johnson (fiction – graphic novel), Linda Kinstler (nonfiction), Stephania Taladrid (nonfiction) and Emma Wippermann (poetry and drama).
Fragoza hails from South El Monte, California and is the founder of the South El Monte Arts Posse, a multidisciplinary arts collective, and Vicious Ladies, a website publishing womxn, queer, and nonbinary critics of color. In addition to teaching at CalArts, she co-edits UC Press’s California cultural journal Boom California.
Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Zyzzyva, Alta, BOMB, and elsewhere. Eat the Mouth That Feeds You was a finalist for the 2022 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for a Debut Short Story Collection.
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