Writing Students Jemimah Wei and Madeleine Cravens Awarded Stegner Fellowships at Stanford University

Rebecca Pinwei Tseng
April 14, 2022

Current Fiction student Jemimah Wei and Poetry student Madeleine Cravens have been awarded coveted Wallace Stegner Fellowships at Stanford University.

The two-year Stegner Fellowships are awarded annually to five poets and five fiction writers. Fellowships include a living stipend and fellows are regarded as working artists who meet weekly for workshops with the faculty of Stanford's writing program. "In awarding fellowships, we consider the quality of the candidate’s creative work, potential for growth, and ability to contribute to and profit from our writing workshops," the university stated.

Wei plans to spend her time at the fellowship working on two short story collections and a novel, a Southeast Asian coming-of-age story following a girl and her adopted sister in the early years of Singapore's rapid economic development. "Much of my work is concerned with documenting the impact of various cultural and class upbringings at odds with the narratives of cosmopolitan progress," Wei stated. "[The fellowship] is such an amazing opportunity, and I can't wait to get started."

As the first Singaporean to be awarded the Stegner Fellowship, Wei also looks forward to continuing to uplift underrepresented voices in the global literary community. "Part of what made this so special for me was getting so many emails from younger Singaporeans who were writing in secret and who are now beginning to see writing as a tenable path," Wei said.

Wei is a writer and host based in Singapore and New York. She was a 2022 Stanford Fiction Fellow, a 2020 De Alba Fellow at Columbia University, and a Francine Ringold Award for New Writers Honouree. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, recognised by the Best of the Net Anthologies, received support from Singapore’s National Arts Council, and appeared in NarrativeNimrod, and CRAFT Literary, amongst others. Presently a columnist for No Contact magazine, Jemimah is at work on a novel and two story collections.

Cravens will spend her time at the fellowship workshopping her manuscript, a series of "lyric poems that follow an itinerant female narrator as she moves through several cities, eventually returning to her girlhood home in Brooklyn." She also hopes to begin a second book-length project. "I'm still in a state of shock. It feels like winning the lottery," Cravens stated.

Cravens is currently a second-year M.F.A. candidate at Columbia University, where she is the Max Ritvo Poetry Fellow. She was the first place winner of Narrative Magazine’s 2021 Poetry Contest and the 2020 30 Below Contest, a semifinalist for the 92 Street Y’s 2021 Discovery Prize, and a finalist for the 2022 James Hearst Poetry Prize.