Holding up an Enchanted Mirror to the American South, Selena Anderson '10 Receives Rona Jaffe Foundation Award

BY Rochelle Goldstein, September 13, 2019

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The work of fiction alumna Selena Anderson ’10 seamlessly melds fantasy and realism, evident in her recent collection of short stories, Tenderoni, where she explores race, identity and Black womanhood in the American South. One reviewer from the Rona Jaffe Foundation described her characters as “runaways, enchanted mirrors, judgy psychics, mischievous ghosts, tiny men, women who fall spontaneously pregnant, and girls yearning for connection and trying to survive.”


The prestigious Rona Jaffe Foundation Award is awarded every year to a group of emerging writers across all genres who show exceptional promise and who could benefit from its generous $30,000 stipend. Anderson is also a winner of the Transatlantic/Henfield Prize and has held fellowships at the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference, the Carson McCullers Center, and the MacDowell Colony. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming from Glimmer TrainKenyon ReviewJoylandAGNI, The Best of Gigantic Anthology, Oxford American, The Georgia Review, Bomb, Callaloo, and Fence, among others.

Anderson recently moved from Houston, where she completed her PhD at the University of Houston, to California, where she is now an assistant professor at San Jose State University. In addition to teaching, she is putting the finishing touches on two novels, Quinella and Cenisa, Samira, Monet, as well as developing a new project about the Texas-to-Mexico underground railroad.