Congratulations to Sandra Jackson-Opoku on a successful grant proposal! Jackson-Opoku is an award-winning poet, fiction writer, screenwriter, and journalist who writes frequently on culture and travel in the African diaspora. She requested funding to help defray travel costs in attending a residency at Hedgebrook, a women writers community on Whidbey Island, Washington.
Jackson-Opoku's published novels include Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks (which she coedited with Quraysh Ali Lansana), The River Where Blood is Born, winner of American Library Association Black Caucus Award for Best Fiction and Hot Johnny (and the Women Whom Loved Him), an Essence Magazine bestseller in hardcover fiction. Her stories, poetry, articles, essays, and scripts are widely published and produced, with work appearing in Islands Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Ms. Magazine, The Literary Traveler, and elsewhere.
Jackson-Opoku’s work has earned the SCBWI Kimberly Colen Award for New Children’s Writing, an American Antiquarian Society Fellowship for Creative Writers, a National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Fellowship, the CCLM/General Electric Fiction Award for Younger Writers, Illinois Arts Council Finalist Awards, and more.
Jackson-Opoku has taught literature and creative writing at schools, universities, workshops, and institutions around the world, including Columbia College Chicago, the University of Miami, Nova Southeastern University, the Writer’s Studio at the University of Chicago, Chicago State University, the North Country Institute for Writers of Color, and the Hurston-Wright Writers Workshop.
The following is an exerpt from Sandra's proposal:
My Mississippi-born father would point to his slanted eyes and evoke tales of some distant Asian ancestor. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of these stories, though I do know that Chinese laborers settled in the post-slavery American South. As their own women were in enormously short supply and Caucasian women off limits, some Chinese men married into the African American community.
While I haven't yet been inspired to investigate my own imputed genealogy, I have opted to weave it into a work of fiction. The project I'll be pursuing at Hedgebrook is BLACK RICE, a novel in progress.