New Writer-in-Residence and Celebration of Literary Success
The Associates of the Boston Public Library (Associates) came alive with literary excitement on October 10, 2023, with our annual Writer-in-Residence (WIR) Reception in the iconic Boston Public Library's (BPL) Abbey Room. The evening was marked by the introduction of the new WIR, Danielle Emerson, and a heartfelt celebration of the accomplishments of the outgoing WIR, Rhonda DeChambeau.
The event was abuzz with anticipation as the Associates officially welcomed Danielle Emerson as the new Writer-in-Residence for the 2023-24 term. Danielle hails from Shiprock, NM, on the Navajo Nation, and currently resides in Providence, RI. Danielle read from her winning proposal (pictured here), titled "Shíghandí Ba’ Halne’: The Stories of Home," captivating the audience. This anthology comprises ten short stories that skillfully blend firsthand experiences with well-researched backgrounds of Diné (Navajo) culture. Danielle's unique perspective promises to bring fresh and exciting narratives to the literary world during her year-long residency.
The evening also provided an opportunity to celebrate the remarkable success of Rhonda DeChambeau, the outgoing Writer-in-Residence. Rhonda, who hails from East Bridgewater, MA, recently achieved a significant milestone in her career with a two-book publishing deal with Holiday House.
Her debut YA novel in verse, titled "Top Heavy," explores the complex relationship between 15-year-old dancer Esme and her body image. Rhonda's achievements have not gone unnoticed, as her work was recently featured in the Boston Globe. As is tradition, Rhonda handed over the manuscript she crafted during her residency to David Leonard, the President of the BPL, to be preserved in the Library's Special Collections (pictured below).
The Writer-in-Residence Reception drew a diverse and distinguished audience, including Boston-based book publishing publicists, literary agents, celebrated authors, members of the Associates Board, and the general public. The evening's program featured speeches by key figures such as David Leonard, the President of the BPL, and Alyce Lee, the Associates board chair. The event was further enriched by insights from authors Alan Andres and Elaine Dimopoulus, who serve as the WIR committee co-chairs. The Associates Writer-in-Residence program has a rich history of nurturing emerging writers, and it continues to do so with great enthusiasm.
Thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor, the program offers a $23,000 stipend to the WIR, along with up to $2,000 for coaching and editorial guidance. Additionally, the WIR is granted a private office within the esteemed BPL Central Library for their year-long tenure. Over nearly two decades, this program has played a pivotal role in launching the literary careers of several talented young adult authors, resulting in the publication of over 70 books!
As the literary torch is passed from one Writer-in-Residence to another, the Associates remain steadfast in their commitment to fostering literary talent and promoting the written word. With Danielle Emerson's exciting new project and Rhonda DeChambeau's promising debut, the literary world can look forward to more captivating stories from these talented authors.
(From left to right) Author and WIR Co-Chair Alan Andres, author William Martin, Associates 2023-24 WIR: Danielle Emerson, 2022-23 WIR Alum: Rhonda DeChambeau, author and WIR Co-Chair Elaine Dimopoulos, and Associates Board Chair Alyce Lee.