Karen Jennings is a South African author. She has published three novels – Finding Soutbek, Upturned Earth, and An Island; a memoir – Travels with my Father; a poetry collection – Space Inhabited by Echoes; and a book of short stories – Away from the Dead. The average writing life often has very little dignity and respect in it, whether that is from publishers, agents, critics, or even family and friends. That is why being awarded an M Literary Residency was such a valuable experience. By being recognised as a writer by an organisation – and then being rewarded for it – Karen felt that she had permission to see herself as a writer too, that writing was not just a “cute” hobby. In addition, spending time with other writers during the residency made the writing life feel less like it had to be confined to the stereotypical imagery of the lonely author in their cold garrett. Instead, writing can also include a warm community of people willing to share, encourage and comfort one another.
Eleanor Goodman’s first collection of poetry, Nine Dragon Island (Enclave/Zephyr, 2016), was partially conceived during her M Literary Residency. Many of the poems that have to do with or are set in China were written in M’s elegant apartment overlooking the Suzhou River. The book went on to be a finalist for the Drunken Boat First Book Prize. Her translation of Something Crosses My Mind: Selected Poems of Wang Xiaoni (Zephyr, 2014) received the 2015 Lucien Stryk Prize and a PEN/Heim Translation Grant, and was shortlisted for the International Griffin Prize. She is also the translator of the anthology Iron Moon: Chinese Worker Poetry (White Pine, 2017), longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award, The Roots of Wisdom: Poems by Zang Di (Zephyr, 2017), awarded the 2020 Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize from the Association for Asian Studies, and Days When I Hide My Corpse in a Cardboard Box: Poems of Natalia Chan (Zephyr, 2018), shortlisted for the 2019 Lucien Stryk Prize. She is a Research Associate at the Harvard University Fairbank Center. Her translation of selected poems by Zheng Xiaoqiong will be published in 2022.
Rachel DeWoskin is the award-winning author of five novels: Someday We Will Fly (Penguin Random House, 2019); Banshee (Dottir Press, 2019); Blind (Penguin Random House, 2015); Big Girl Small (FSG, 2011); Repeat After Me (The Overlook Press, 2009); and the memoir Foreign Babes in Beijing (WW Norton, 2005), about the years she spent in Beijing as the unlikely star of a Chinese soap opera. She has received a National Jewish Book Award, a Sydney Taylor Book Award, an American Library Association’s Alex Award, and an Academy of American Poets Award, among others. Two of her books, Foreign Babes in Beijing and Banshee, are being developed for TV. DeWoskin’s poetry collection, Two Menus, was published by the University of Chicago Press’ Phoenix Poetry Series in 2020. Her poems, essays, and articles have appeared in journals and anthologies including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Ploughshares, and New Voices from the Academy of American Poets. DeWoskin is an Associate Professor of Practice in the Arts at UChicago and an affiliated faculty member in Jewish and East Asian Studies.