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UW-Madison alum Flowers receives 2017 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award

September 01, 2017
UW-Madison alumna Ebony Flowers has received a 2017 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award. 

Flowers earned both her master's degree (2012) and Ph.D. (2016) from the School of Education's Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and is a prose writer and cartoonist. Her work focuses on the intersection of family, place and belonging. 

The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award is given annually to six women writers. The awards are $30,000 each, and are meant to aid women who "demonstrate excellence and promise" by offering financial support and encouragement. 

The award is the only national literary awards program of its kind dedicated to supporting women writers exclusively, and since its beginning has awarded more than $2 million to emerging women writers. 

Flowers' current projects include "4a/b," a collection of short-form comics centered on black hair through fiction, creative nonfiction and parody hair advertisements. 

“Black hair is an intimate experience based upon the familial touch of a mother, friend, or neighbor's hands while punctuated by the vestiges of racism," Flowers said about the project. 

Other ongoing work includes "Shannon O'," Flowers' long-form fiction comic that explores the everyday life of women in a tight-knight community loosely based on the Baltimore neighborhood where her mother grew up.

“She is inventing something of great importance in terms of comics. There is nothing to compare her work to because it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. Ebony Flowers really is a genius. I believe she is going to change the game in terms of graphic narrative," said Flowers' nominator. 

To read more about the award and the five other recipients, visit this Rona Jaffe Foundation webpage.