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Jill Widner

County: Yakima County




Grants for Artists' Progress (GAP) 2023
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GAP 2009
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Fellowship Awards 2007
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Jill Widner grew up in Sumatra, Indonesia, the setting of her novel-in-stories in progress, A Green Raft on a Muddy Swell, where her father worked as a petrochemical engineer throughout the 1960s. Set during the years before and following the Sukarno coup, a period of history documented in Christopher J. Koch’s The Year of Living Dangerously, it observes a subculture of expatriate children growing up in an oil compound in south Sumatra when the petroleum industry was managed predominantly by the British and the Americans. Excerpts have been published as self-contained stories in Asia Literary Review (Hong Kong); the Bridport Prize Anthology (UK); Kyoto Journal (Japan); North American Review and elsewhere.

She is concurrently working on a collection of short stories, set in pre-revolutionary Iran and Saudi Arabia, where her father worked throughout the 1970s. A Middle Eastern No, a chapbook containing three of the stories, was selected by the Irish novelist Billy O’Callaghan as the 2019 international winner of the Southword fiction chapbook competition (Munster Literature Centre, Cork, Ireland). Other excerpts from the collection have been published in Denver Quarterly; Everywhere Stories (Press 53); The Fiddlehead (Canada); and Kenyon Review Online.

She is the recipient of fellowships and grants from Artist Trust, Hawthornden Castle (Scotland), MacDowell, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, VCCA-France, and Yaddo. She is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She currently lives in Yakima, Washington, where she taught for 27 years at Yakima Valley College until her retirement in 2020.

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Image: Peggy Piacenza, 2024 Fellowship Recipient

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