Jill Widner

County: Yakima County



Award Recipient 2009
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Fellowship Awards 2007
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Jill Widner has been awarded residencies at Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and recipient of a 2012 Fellowship to Hawthornden Castle in Scotland. Additionally, she was a finalist for the 2008 Fiction Prize from Arts & Letters, and semi-finalist for the 2008 Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and the 2008 Pirate’s Alley William Faulkner/William Wisdom Competition. She lives and teaches in Yakima, Washington, and is a fiction reader for Drunken Boat.  

Jill received 2009 GAP Award funding to allow her to return to writing instead of teaching summer school. The Smell of Sulphur is a novel in progress that fictionalizes her experiences growing up in Indonesia where Jill lived as the daughter of a petroleum engineer from 1963 to 1969. The book is concerned with the ambivalent line between fiction and memoir.

As part of her Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, Jill gave a reading at The Center for Arts and History in Lewiston, ID, from her novel-in-progress, The Smell of Sulphur, which fictionalizes her experience growing up in Sumatra, Indonesia, the daughter of a petroleum engineer, during the years before and following the Sukarno coup. The Center was a warm and inviting venue for the event, held in conjunction with an exhibit of world traveler and watercolorist Craig Whitcomb. Sandi Billings, producer and host of Yin Radio, which features women’s voices and stories every week, recorded the event, and, within 24 hours, produced a show called “Unusual Places and Stories about the People Who Inhabit Them,” available for listening at www.vpfound.org/yinradio/recently_on_yin.html.