The Ucross Foundation has received a grant from Amazon to support emerging writers through its artist residency program.
The Amazon Literary Partnership awarded a $20,000 grant to the Ucross Foundation to host two emerging writers at its residency program at its ranch this fall. This is the first time Ucross has received a grant from the Amazon program and also its first time applying for the funds.
The Ucross Artist residency program provides time and space for artists and writers to focus solely on their work away from daily distractions, and has been doing so since the 1980s. The program has many alumni who have gone on to win National Book Awards, Tony Awards and Pulitzer Prizes. Notable past residents include Colson Whitehead, Elizabeth Gilbert and Annie Proulx.
William Belcher, director of development and external relations at Ucross, said the arts organization was selected for the grant because of its support of emerging writers over the years.
"There's a dedication we have to finding overlook voices or marginalized voices both in the High Plains and throughout the American West. So I think that was particularly of interest to Amazon Literary Partnership," he said.
The grant will be used to bring Juan Alvarado Valdivida, a fiction writer, and Sophie He, a nonfiction writer, to the program this fall. Belcher said the recipients were chosen from among the regular applicants to the residency programs in the fall and spring. From there, they were matched with this funding source.
He said Amazon saw the value in Ucross's commitment to writers and its community in Wyoming.
"Ucross can carry that and carry that message that there's something about Ucross and something about Wyoming that's making this all happen and we're glad to be a part of it," Belcher said.
The purpose of the Amazon Literary Partnership program is to provide support for underrepresented and overlooked writers. The organization has award more than $12 million in grant funding to literary organizations since 2009.