NEW YORK (AP) — A literary prize that provided vital support to Tracy K. Smith, Eula Biss and more than 100 other women early in their writing careers has been discontinued. Administrators of the Rona Jaffe Writers’ Awards cited “significant” costs in running the program, founded in 1995.
“The Foundation’s board feels that we can use these funds resulting in even greater impact by supporting vital literary, educational, and cultural nonprofits that serve creative artists and the literary arts more comprehensively as their core missions,” according to a recent post on the Jaffe Foundation’s website.
For the past quarter century, the Jaffe Foundation had annually awarded six or more women grants up to $30,000 each to give them more time to write. The awards were established by Rona Jaffe, a novelist who died in 2005.
Biss, known for her award-winning essay collection “Notes from No Man’s Land” and other nonfiction, received a Jaffe grant in 2002. On Tuesday, she called it a “major turning point” in her career that enabled her to break a “cycle” of part-time jobs and to focus on writing.