Program News

Announcing The Rona Jaffe Foundation Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Iowa Writers’ Workshop and The Rona Jaffe Foundation are delighted to announce the establishment of The Rona Jaffe Foundation Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing, which will pay tuition plus a generous stipend to a first-year woman student in fiction or poetry each year.  

The Rona Jaffe Foundation has generously granted this fellowship to the Workshop in recognition of the programs’ shared goal of supporting writers of exceptional talent early in their career. In 1995, author Rona Jaffe (1931-2005) established The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards program, which funds emerging women writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. It is the only national literary awards program of its kind dedicated to supporting women writers exclusively.

"The Writers' Workshop is thrilled to receive this generous support from The Rona Jaffe Foundation,” said Lan Samantha Chang, director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. “The Rona Jaffe Foundation Graduate Fellowship in Creative Writing will create shelter and opportunity for a stellar woman writer at crucial stage in her development.”

Vauhini Vara was selected as the inaugural fellow by the Workshop from its pool of incoming students for the 2008-2009 academic year.  

"I was nervous about leaving my job to go back to school, so I decided early on to attend an MFA program — even one as highly regarded as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop — only if my tuition would be covered,” said Vara. “This fellowship played a huge role in my decision to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and goes well beyond what I had hoped for, in terms of funding. I feel very honored, of course, but on a more practical level, I feel relieved that I can attend this world-class program without having to worry about the financial burden.”

For more information about The Rona Jaffe Foundation, please visit their website, at