You are here


National Endowment for the Arts Announces Literature Fellowship Grant Recipients

National Endowment for the Arts Announces Literature Fellowship Grant Recipients


Two grantees from Maryland

January 21, 2020Press Release

Washington, DC—The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced today a total of $1.2 million in fellowships to creative writers and translators, supporting both the development of new works of American literature and the translation into English of literary prose, poetry, and drama from writers around the world. 36 Creative Writing Fellowships and 24 Literature Translation Fellowships were awarded, with one Maryland-based recipient in each category. 

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support our nation’s writers and translators and their efforts to expand our literary landscape through their artistry, creativity, and dedication,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Danielle Valore Evans of Baltimore was awarded a Creative Writing Fellowship ($25,000). Fellowships alternate each year between poetry and prose and this year’s fellowships are to support prose—works of fiction and creative nonfiction, such as memoirs and personal essays. Evans is the author of the story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, which was a co-winner of the 2011 PEN American Robert W. Bingham Prize for a first book, a National Book Foundation 5 under 35 selection, the winner of the Paterson Prize for Fiction and the Hurston-Wright award for fiction, and an honorable mention for the PEN/Hemingway award. Her work has appeared in magazines including The Paris Review, A Public Space, American Short Fiction, Callaloo, The Sewanee Review, and Phoebe,  and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2008, 2010, 2017, and 2018, and in New Stories From The South. She received an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop, has taught creative writing at American University in Washington DC and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and now teaches in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

Nancy Naomi Carlson from Silver Spring was awarded a Literature Translation Fellowship ($12,500)

to support the translation from the French of two poetry collections by Congolese author and poet Alain Mabanckou. One of francophone Africa's most prolific contemporary writers, Mabanckou (b. 1966) has published 12 novels, seven collections of poetry, and several books of nonfiction. Originally a legal advisor, Mabanckou decided to dedicate himself to writing and relocated to the United States. The collections in this project, The Rooster Announces the Dawn of Another Day and As Long as Trees Take Root in the Earth, explore themes of love for his mother and motherland (often intertwined), exile, civil war and political corruption, and hope for a better Africa. While his prose has been translated

into almost 20 languages, none of his poetry collections appear in English.

Nancy Naomi Carlson is a poet and translator whose honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and grants from the Maryland State Arts Council and Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County. She has translated six books into English, including The Nomads, My Brothers, Go Out to Drink from the Big Dipper by Abdourahman Waberi, which was a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award.


About the Maryland State Arts Council

Founded in 1967, the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is celebrating 50 years of service to the arts.  As an agency of the State of Maryland's Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, MSAC encourages and invests in the advancement of the arts for all Marylanders. Its grants and programs support artists and arts organizations in their pursuit of artistic excellence, ensure the accessibility of the arts to all citizens, and promote statewide awareness of arts resources and opportunities. For more information, visit

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more.


Media Contact: 

Amelia Rambissoon, Maryland State Arts Council
(o) 410-767-6542