TIANA NOBILE (poetry ’17) will receive a 2017 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, which is given annually to six women writers who demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers. Celebrating its 23rd year, the Rona Jaffe Awards have helped many women build successful writing careers by offering encouragement and financial support at a critical time. The Awards are $30,000 each and will be presented to the six recipients on September 14th in New York City.

Tiana Nobile’s first poetry collection, Harlow’s Monkey, explores and grapples with the history of adoption, both her own from South Korea and the broader, collective experience. She says, “As a child I was unable to discuss the complicated nature of how a family like ours was formed, the history left behind and how to negotiate that loss. Through the act of writing my manuscript, I’ve finally given myself permission to explore the complexities of adoption, dislocation, and familial love.” Her nominator writes, “Tiana did the incredibly difficult work of delving deep into her own personal narrative while also challenging herself to find a new and rigorous poetics that would challenge received ideas of accessibility and emotional charge in the poems. It was a tremendous amount to take on and it gave me such a clear vision into her capabilities as a poet and a person.” Ms. Nobile was an elementary teacher in the New Orleans public schools for several years and is now a teaching artist and arts coach in the schools for KID smART. She received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, an M.A.T. from the University of New Orleans in elementary and special education, and her M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College in 2017. Her poems have appeared inAntenna, The Collagist, PHANTOM, among others, and she is a recipient of a Kundiman fellowship. She plans to use her Writer’s Award to return to South Korea for the first time since her adoption and to take time to continue her work on her first collection. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Tiana Nobile (poetry, July 2017) is the eighth alumna of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College to receive this honor since the Writers’ Awards were established in 1995.  Previous recipients include Karen Whalley (poetry, ’00) and Constance Merritt (poetry, ’00) in 2001, Adrian Blevins (poetry, ’02) in 2002, Joanne Dominique Dwyer (poetry, ’09) in 2008, Heidy Steidlmayer (poetry, ’00) in 2009,  Laura Newbern (poetry, ’94) in 2010, and Margaree Little (poetry,’12) in 2013.

In addition, seven Warren Wilson MFA faculty have been honored with this award:  Mary Szybist in 1996, Karen Bender in 1997, Lan Samantha Chang in 1998, Gabrielle Calvocoressi in 2002, Dana Levin in 2004, Jennifer Grotz in 2007, and Kirstin Valdez Quade in 2013 .

From Tiana:
I’m honored and humbled to be one of the recipients of the 2017 Rona Jaffe Writers’ Awards. Having just graduated from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson, receiving this amazing gift could not have come at a better time. My two years in the Program were precious and provided me with the time, space and mentorship I needed to build my craft and work tirelessly on my manuscript.
In my manuscript, I explore the history and complexities of adoption, both my own and the broader collective experience. I’m primarily interested in investigating the impact transnational adoption has on the body, memory and language.
The financial support of the Rona Jaffe Award will not only help as I continue working on my manuscript, it will also provide me with the opportunity to travel to South Korea for the first time since my birth. I’m thrilled to be taking this next step, not only for my personal life, but also for my poems as I continue to push my manuscript forward.
 And from Program Director Debra Allberry:
We’re thrilled that Tiana will have the benefit of this prestigious and generous award to sustain her momentum as she continues the admirable work begun in our program. We’re grateful to The Rona Jaffe Foundation for their invaluable support of emerging women writers–support which has previously benefited several of our graduates and faculty.

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