Emily Rapp Black
Fellow: Awarded 2017
Field of Study: General Nonfiction
Competition: US & Canada
Emily Rapp Black is the author of Poster Child: A Memoir (BloomsburyUSA), and The Still Point of the Turning World (The Penguin Press), which was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the PEN USA Award in Nonfiction. Her book-length lyric essay, Casa Azul Cripple examines the intersection of art, disability, sex, and fetish through the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and is forthcoming from the New York Review of Books/NottingHill Editions in 2018.
Born in Nebraska and raised in Wyoming, Emily was educated at St. Olaf College, Trinity College-Dublin, and the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James Michener Fellow in fiction and poetry. Her theological training at Harvard Divinity School and in Ireland continues to influence many aspects of her work. She has received fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo, Fundacion Valparaiso in Spain, ArtOmi, the Jentel Arts Foundation, Bucknell University, where she was the Philip Roth Writer-in-Residence, and the Fine Arts Work Center, where as a winter writing fellow she finished her first book in a snowed-in cabin after a record snowfall on Cape Cod. She received a 2006 Rona Jaffe Emerging Writers’ Award, held the Russo Chair in Creative Writing at the University of New Mexico from 2014-2015, and was recently awarded the Wachtmeister Award from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Her work has appeared in Vogue, the New York Times, Alcalde, Lenny Letter, Reader's Digest, the Los Angeles Times, O, the Oprah Magazine, London Times-Style, Salon, Slate, Modern Loss, Brain.Child, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications, academic journals, and essay anthologies. Since 2012, she has been a regular book reviewer for the Boston Globe. In 2018, she will be a summer researcher at the Soren Kierkegaard Institute at the University of Copenhagen, with a particular focus on Fear and Trembling.
Emily is currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California-Riverside. For almost twenty years she has been an advocate for those with stories of the body that fall outside normative understandings of what is acceptable or “good." She teaches and writes within and around subjects that fall under disability studies, feminist theology, medical narratives, medical ethics, and the literature of embodiment, trauma, and recovery. She is active in the cultural dialogue around end of life care, quality of life, and pediatric hospice care. She is currently at work on a book that reexamines the ancient notion of resilience for a modern world, as well as a novel about two grieving people on opposite sides of the world who become connected through a shared experience of the afterlife. Emily lives in Southern California with her husband, writer and editor Kent Black, and their family.