The Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowship

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Students enrolled at The Writing Institute are eligible for The Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowship, which provides two recipients with a yearlong opportunity to work closely with a mentor on a writing project of their choice.

A select panel of judges chooses winners. Previous Gurfein Writing Fellows have been signed by literary agents and are published in newspapers, magazines, and journals.

2018 Fellowship Submission Guidelines

All students at The Writing Institute are invited and encouraged to apply for the 2018 Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowship. Recipients will receive one full year of personalized, one-on-one mentorship from a selected faculty member or esteemed writer. Past mentors have included writers such as David Hollander, Suzanne Gardinier, Steve Lewis, Mary LaChapelle, Marian Thurm, and more.

To Qualify for The Gurfein Fellowship
  1. All applicants must have taken at least one 5- or 11- session workshop at The Writing Institute during the 2017 calendar year.
  2. Submissions of prose, fiction or non-fiction, and poetry are acceptable. Works that include a combination/hybrid of genres must still adhere to the length requirements on the application page.
  3. Previous applicants for the Gurfein Fellowship in past years are welcome to apply again.

Apply now

2017 Gurfein Writing Fellows

Lisa Cader and Sydney Jarrard are the recipients of the 2017 Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowships. The judges have also recognized Rachel Khanna and Shami Shanoy with Honorable Mentions.

Gurfein Fellowship Mentors

The Gurfein Writing Fellows receive a year of one-on-one mentoring with outstanding members of the Sarah Lawrence faculty.

Suzanne Gardinier
BA, University of Massachusetts-Amherst. MFA, Columbia University. Author of the long poem, The New World, winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award Series in poetry; A World That Will Hold All the People, essays on poetry and politics; Today: 101 Ghazals (2008); the long poem, Dialogue With the Archipelago (2009); and fiction published in The Kenyon Review, The American Voice, and The Paris Review. Recipient of The Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence in the Essay and of grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation. Sarah Lawrence, 1994–

David Hollander
BA, State University of New York-Purchase. MFA, Sarah Lawrence College. Author of the novel L.I.E., a finalist for the NYPL Young Lions Award, his short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous print and online forums, including McSweeney’s, Post Road, The New York Times Magazine, Poets & Writers, The Collagist, Unsaid, The Black Warrior Review, The Brooklyn Rail, and Swink. His work has been adapted for film and frequently anthologized, most notably in Best American Fantasy 2 and 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11. Sarah Lawrence, 2002–

Mary LaChapelle
BA, University of Minnesota. MFA, Vermont College. Author of House of Heroes and Other Stories; stories, essays and anthologies published by New River’s Press, Atlantic Monthly Press, Columbia Journal, Global City Review, Hungry Mind Review, North American Review, Newsday, The New York Times; recipient of the PEN/Nelson Algren, National Library Association, Loft McKnight and The Whiting Foundation awards; fellowships from the Hedgebrook, Katherine Anne Porter, Edward Albee, and Bush foundations. Sarah Lawrence, 1992–

Steve Lewis
Mentor at Empire State College and a longtime freelance writer whose publication credits include The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, The Christian Science Monitor, AARP, and a biblically long list of parenting magazines. (He has seven kids.) His recent books are Zen and the Art of Fatherhood, The ABCs of Real Family Values, The Complete Guide for the Anxious Groom, and Fear and Loathing of Boca Raton: A Hippie’s Guide to the Second Sixties. A collection of poems, A Month on a Barrier Island, is now available.

David Ryan
BA, University of Massachusetts. MFA, Bennington College. He is the author of the story collection Animals in Motion (Roundabout Press). Fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Esquire, Electric Literature, BOMB, Tin House, Fence, Several Mississippi Review Prize Issues, Encyclopedia (L-Z), Denver Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, New Orleans Review, Nerve, Salt Hill, Cimarron Review, Unsaid, failbetter, and others. Anthologies include Flash Fiction Forward (W.W. Norton); Boston Noir 2: the Classics (Akashic); and The Mississippi Review: 30 Years. Essays, reviews, and interviews in The Paris Review, Tin House, BOMB, BookForum, The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Fiction (Oxford University Press), and others. Recipient of a MacDowell fellowship and a Connecticut state arts grant. Founding editor of Post Road Magazine, where he currently edits the Fiction and Theatre sections. Sarah Lawrence, 2013–

Marian Thurm
BA, Vassar College; MA, creative writing, Brown University. Author of six novels and four short story collections, including the most recent, Today Is Not Your Day, a New York Times Editors' Choice. Her novel The Clairvoyant was a New York Times Notable Book. Her short stories have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Michigan Quarterly, the Southampton Review, and many other magazines, and have been included in The Best American Short Stories, and numerous other anthologies. Her books have been translated into Japanese, Swedish, Dutch, and German. In addition to teaching at the Writing Institute, she has taught creative writing at Yale and Barnard, and in the MFA programs at Columbia University and Brooklyn College. Her seventh novel, The Good Life, was published in April 2016.

Gurfein Fellowship Judges

Rachel Cohen
Sarah Lawrence Writing Faculty. Author of a Chance Meeting: Intertwined Lives of American Writers and Artists, published by Random House and chosen as one of the Los Angeles Times best books of the year and recipient of the 2003 PEN/Jerard Fund Award. Ms. Cohen has received numerous honors including a Fellowship at the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU and Fellowships at The New York Foundation for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony, the oldest artists' colony in the United States.

Barbara Gordon
Three-time Emmy Award-winning documentary film producer and writer. Barbara Gordon has worked as a writer for NBC's Today Show; a writer-producer for WCBS-TV's Eye on Documentary Series; and writer-producer for PBS's The Great American Dream Machine and Black Journal. She is the best-selling author of I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can, Jennifer Fever, and Defects of the Heart.

Andrew Gross
Author of The New York Times best-selling thrillers, The Blue Zone and The Dark Tide, and co-author of six #1 bestsellers with James Patterson, including the Women's Murder Club series, Lifeguard, and Judge and Jury. Eye Wide Open, Mr. Gross's new thriller, published by William Morrow, is on shelves now.

Kody Gurfein
Vice President of The Kathryn Gurfein Writing Fellowship at Sarah Lawrence College. She is the Marketing & Communications Lead for the Americas at Exiger, a global financial crime compliance firm, as well as Executive Director of The Integrity Forum. At Exiger, Kody co-founded Exiger WINs (Women’s Initiative Networks) to foster female leadership and raise awareness of the challenges specific to women in the workplace, and Exiger Cares, dedicated to raising funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. Kody is also a founding member of the Young Patrons Steering Committee at the City Parks Foundation/SummerStage. With a BA in English Literature from Cornell University, Kody has studied graduate level courses at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and The Writers Studio New York.

Stephen Lang
Tony-nominated and Drama Desk, Helen Hayes, and Grace Award-winning actor and writer. Mr. Lang was recently nominated for a Saturn Award for best supporting actor for his role in James Cameron's Avatar, the highest-grossing movie of all time. Mr. Lang is also the co-artistic director of the Actors Studio in New York.

Mark Medoff
Playwright, screenwriter, and director of stage, film, and opera. Mr. Medoff received a Tony Award for Children of a Lesser God, for which he was also nominated for an Academy Award. He is the winner of London's Society of West End Theatres Award for best play and nominee for a Cable Ace Award for his HBO premiere movie, Apology. He has also received an OBIE Award for When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? Mr. Medoff was co-founder of the American Southwest Theatre Company and Head of the Department of Theatre Arts for nine years. He is currently Distinguished Lecturer in Playwriting at the University of Houston. He has also been named Senior Fellow in the Creative Media Institute at New Mexico State University, where he taught for 27 years.

Brian Morton
BA, Sarah Lawrence College. Author of the novels The Dylanist, Starting Out in the Evening, A Window Across the River, Breakable You, and Florence Gordon. Recipient of the Guggenheim Award, the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Koret Jewish Book Award for Fiction; finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. A Window Across the River was a Today Show book club choice, and Starting Out in the Evening was made into a motion picture that premiered at the Sundance Festival in 2007. Sarah Lawrence, 1998–

Jon Pessah
Founding editor of ESPN the Magazine and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. A thirty-five-year veteran of sports journalism in newspapers and magazines, he has written and edited sports at Newsday, Hartford Courant, and ESPN. His book, The Game: Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball's Power Brokers, was released in May 2015 by Little, Brown and Company.

Nelly Reifler
BA, Hampshire College; MFA, Sarah Lawrence College. Author of the short story collection See Through. Her fiction has appeared in magazines and journals including Bomb, Post Road, McSweeney's, Nerve, and Black Book, as well as in anthologies including 110 Stories: New York Writes After September 11; Lost Tribe: New Jewish Fiction from the Edge, and Found Magazine's Requiem for a Paper Bag. She was the recipient of a Henfield Prize in 1995, a UAS Explorations Prize in 1997, and a Rotunda Gallery Emerging Curator grant for her work with fiction and art in 2001. Ms. Reifler has worked as a columnist for Nextbook.org, 2006 – 2009; co-director of Pratt Institute's Friday Forum, 2005 – present; and is the founder and president of Dainty Rubbish record company.

Lynda Sturner
Lynda’s plays have been produced in New York. Tokyo, Provincetown, and Valdez, Alaska. Her short play, Look What You Made Me Do was published in Rowing to America, an anthology of new short plays by women from The Woman’s Project. The Death of Huey Newton was published by Broadway Play Publishing. The Victim Art Show was named one of the top theater works of the year by the Cape Cod Times. Lynda appeared on Broadway in Oliver and off-Broadway in The Effects of Gamma Rays on the Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. She was the Artistic Director of the Provincetown Repertory Theatre and Playwright’s Forum in NYC a member of the Actor’s Studio Playwright’s Unit and the Woman’s Project. Lynda was co-president of The League of Professional Theatre Women in New York and writes for TheatreMania.com and NiteLifeExchange.com. She is currently developing a new play, A Talented Woman with co-writer Jim Dalglish.

Marian Thurm
BA, Vassar College; MA, Creative Writing, Brown University. Author of six novels and four short story collections, including the most recent, Today Is Not Your Day, a New York Times Editors' Choice. Her novel The Clairvoyant was a New York Times Notable Book. Her short stories have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Michigan Quarterly, the Southampton Review, and many other magazines, and have been included in The Best American Short Stories, and numerous other anthologies. Her books have been translated into Japanese, Swedish, Dutch, and German. In addition to teaching at the Writing Institute, she has taught creative writing at Yale and Barnard, and in the MFA programs at Columbia University and Brooklyn College. Her seventh novel, The Good Life, was published in April 2016.

Former Gurfein Writing Fellows

  • Dorothee Ahrens, 2013
  • Bianca Rose Ambrosia, Honorable Mention, 2016
  • Melanie Anagnos, 2012
  • Jennifer Armocida, Honorable Mention, 2010
  • Christine Barbero, 2013
  • Robbie Oxnard Bent, 2011
    Watch a video of Robbie discussing her experience as a Gurfein Fellow
  • Ellen Bregman, Honorable Mention, 2015
  • Kathryn Curto, 2006
  • Mia de Bethune, 2012
    Watch a video of Mia discussing her experience as a Gurfein Fellow
  • Rosemary Farrell, 2009
  • Daisy Isadora Florin, 2016
  • Kathy M. Gevlin, Honorable Mention, 2016
  • John Gredler, 2014
  • Claire Hansen, Honorable Mention, 2014
  • Angie Hunt, 2006
  • Susan Kleinman, 2010
  • Ginger McKnight-Chavers, 2008
  • Jacquelyn Mercurio, Honorable Mention, 2012
  • Sheila Miller, 2016
  • Anne Miyamoto, 2010
  • Gregory Murtha, 2009
  • Sarah Newbold, 2007
  • Cari Pattison, 2015
  • Helen Rafferty, 2008
  • Erin Robinson-Lis, 2015
  • Lisa Smith, Honorable Mention, 2013
  • Catherin Wald, Honorable Mention, 2011
  • Peter J. Wade, 2011
  • Suzanne Weiss, 2014
  • Erica Youngren, 2007