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Past Winner: Nelly Rosario

2008 Winner, <a href=Writer Nelly Rosario of San Marcos, Texas, is the 2008 winner of the annual $15,000 Sherwood Anderson Writer's Grant, Michael M. Spear,co-president of the Sherwood Anderson Foundation, has announced. Our judges in selecting Rosario had this to say: "Hers is fearless writing, and she's able to juggle several points of view credibly in her 2002 generational saga of Dominican women, 1916-1999 titled Song of the Water Saints. Employing rich imagery, whether lush or abominable, Nelly depicts a wide continuum of sensed life."

Rosario is a New York City native born in the Dominican Republic. The 1998 MFA graduate of the Columbia University School of the Arts submitted Airman Basic Training from her novel-in-progress The Three Eyes of Water, of which excerpts appear in Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters and will be forthcoming in Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas.

The Village Voice Literary Supplement named Rosario a "Writer on theVerge" in 2001. Her 2002 debut novel Song of the Water Saints won a PEN Open Book Award and was nominated for a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Pulitzer-Prize winner Junot Diaz called Rosario's Song of the Water Saints: "An electrifying debut."

Powerfully written, meticulously imagined, and arresting to its core, Nelly Rosario's novel is a flame for the mind and heart, the sort you areendlessly grateful for.

Though Rosario has an undergraduate degree in engineering from MIT, she said, "I never left [engineering] for literature, as literature has always been with me" and is grateful for the "passion-ahead-of-profit values" embodied by the Sherwood Anderson Writer's Grant. She has taught writing at Columbia University and currently teaches at Texas State University in San Marcos.

In making the award each year, the foundation is carrying on a tradition started by Anderson in the last century when he helped both William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway get published initially, Spear said. Since the Sherwood Anderson Foundation started helping struggling writers in1988, it has given more than $165,000 in grants, Spear said.

For more about the foundation and the grant competition, visit this website: sherwoodandersonfoundation.org