Fiction writer Grace Chao has been named the 2024 Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center

July 5, 2024

In honor of celebrated author Rona Jaffe, fiction writer Grace Chao has been named the 2024 Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center. Through this Fellowship, Chao was awarded a seven-month residency in Provincetown to focus on her creative practice. Her residency included an apartment and monthly stipends totaling $9,750, as well as a $2,500 prize to help defray the cost of travel and living expenses. 

The Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center was established in 2022. It is awarded each year to an emerging woman writer of exceptional promise. During the residency, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow has the opportunity to pursue her work independently in a diverse and supportive community of peers. The Fellowship fully funds the seven-month residency and includes the $2,500 prize. Hannah Perrin King was the inaugural RJF Fellow in 2023.

Grace Chao

“The warm red of the barn door; the calm of a coastal winter; the roundness of a clam in my palm: I see and feel these still,” Chao wrote of her experience. “I will long be grateful for the memories and growth that my time at the Fine Arts Work Center, and the support of the Rona Jaffe Foundation, have gifted me. From the day I entered Provincetown—and stepped through the doors of the barn—I could sense an exquisite energy that had been passed down and built upon.

My mother and my sisters form the spirit of my stories, and through my writing I strive to give voices to girls and women who are imaginative, hopeful, imperfect, and brave. Thank you to the Rona Jaffe Foundation, and the Fine Arts Work Center, for giving me a home to tell those stories.”

Chao was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her writing is preoccupied with how time and memory distort perceptions of crucial relationships; with loss of faith; and with what happens when a family’s dreams, whether grand or ordinary, are broken. She is the winner of The Sewanee Review’s 2022 Fiction Contest, as well as the recipient of a 2023 Oregon Literary Arts Career Fellowship and a 2023 Tin House residency. She holds a BA and MA from Stanford University and completed an MFA in fiction at the University of Oregon. In Provincetown, she worked on a story collection about a Taiwanese American family and embarked on her first novel.

“The Rona Jaffe Foundation is very pleased to be able to support the Fine Arts Work Center and its long history of supporting emerging writers and artists in underwriting an annual 7-month residency for a deserving and talented emerging woman writer,” said Beth McCabe, Executive Director of the Foundation. “This partnership allows us to continue to provide support and opportunities for women writers at important conjunctures in their writing lives as well as recognize the important place the Fine Arts Work Center holds in the hearts and minds of so many writers and artists whose early careers have been nurtured and developed during this formative residency experience. We were moved to read Grace’s reflection and the deep impression FAWC has made on her—its creative legacy and atmosphere of care and encouragement. We are delighted that she not only progressed on her story collection but was sparked to begin her first novel. Her time at the Work Center will carry her forward as she embarks on the next step in her journey.”

“It is a privilege to collaborate with The Rona Jaffe Foundation to invest in and nurture emerging women writers of exceptional promise such as Grace Chao,” said Fine Arts Work Center Executive Director Sharon Polli. “Through our partnership, this Fellowship meaningfully supports women writers and helps make possible writing of significant artistic depth and quality. Contributions such as this one, that fully underwrite fellowships, are vital to FAWC’s ability to provide our signature residency program for artists and writers.”

The Fine Arts Work Center is an artist-led organization based in Provincetown and connected to the world. The Work Center is internationally known for an acclaimed seven-month residency program granting fellowships to 20 emerging writers and artists each year. Past Writing Fellows have included current U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón, 2024 Pulitzer Prize-winners Jayne Anne Phillips and Brandon Som, and National Book Award recipient Susan Choi.


About The Rona Jaffe Foundation

The Rona Jaffe Foundation’s programs of support for emerging women writers identify and encourage women writers of exceptional promise in recognition of the important contributions they make to our culture. Its work acknowledges the difficulties some of the most talented among them have in overcoming obstacles in finding time to write and gaining attention. For nearly 30 years, through the Writers’ Awards program (1995-2020), sponsored fellowships held at distinguished cultural and educational nonprofit institutions throughout the country, and the support of vital literary nonprofits, The Rona Jaffe Foundation has helped many women build successful writing lives by offering opportunities, encouragement, and financial support at a critical time. 


About the Fine Arts Work Center

The Fine Arts Work Center is an international home for artists and writers in Provincetown, Massachusetts —  the country’s most enduring artists’ community. Founded in 1968 by a group of luminary creators including Stanley Kunitz, Robert Motherwell, Josephine and Salvatore Del Deo, and Hudson and Ione Walker, the Work Center has given artists and writers the space and time to pursue their work within a community of peers for more than half a century. The artist-led Work Center supports emerging artists and writers through its world-renowned Fellowship program, and also offers summer workshops and year-round virtual learning opportunities to advance creative practice. Fine Arts Work Center Fellows who have arrived in Provincetown as emerging writers have gone on to win Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, MacArthur Fellowships, and the Nobel Prize in Literature. Visual Arts Fellows have presented their work at the Venice Biennale, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and at other venues around the globe. The Fine Arts Work Center supports artistic freedom, nurtures creative connections, and makes possible artistic achievements important to the larger culture. 

If you are interested in learning how you could support a FAWC fellowship, please contact Executive Director Sharon Polli at 508.487.9960. 

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