BA & MFA Alum Priyanka Champaneri Receives NEA Fellowship

Priyanka Champaneri (BA '05, MFA '10) was named one of 35 recipients of a 2024 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. 

Creative Writing Fellowships of $25,000 are awarded in alternating years in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry, giving recipients the time and space to create, revise, conduct research, and connect with readers.

Champaneri's debut novel The City of Good Death won the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, was a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, longlisted for India's Tata Literature Live! First Book Award, and named one of NPR's 2021 Books We Love. Her writing has appeared in Astra, Electric Lit, Hindu Business Line, Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, and more. She has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts numerous times.

From Champaneri's personal statement on the NEA website: 

"Every year on the day after Diwali, the official start of the new Hindu year, my mother has told me to write. In the years I've felt ambivalent, she's told me to write; when I've been discouraged and rejected, she tells me to write; when I want to do anything but writing, she continues to nudge: 'This day sets your intention for the year. Even if it's just one sentence, write.'"

Perfect guidance for MFA students and writers at every stage of their artistic lives. Read the entire statement here.

The New York Times reviewed The City of Good Death, the reviewer noting that "the novel remains an intimate portrait of Pramesh {the book's protagonist}, and yet the other characters allow Champaneri to articulate how grief and healing are social processes."

The review praised Champaneri's ability to stay attuned to "atmospheric details, both physical and emotional" and how she "subtly renders how grief lurks in mundane objects and gestures."

Still part of the community at George Mason, Champaneri is an Editorial Manager for the University and appeared as part of the Creative Writing Program's Fall 2021 Visiting Writers Series.