Tierce lives in LA now, writing for television’s Orange is the New Black, and Villareal is working on her doctorate in English literature and creative writing at USC in LA.
The Whiting Awards jury has announced this year’s ten winners in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama. Two winners picking up the $50,000 prize are from Texas. Merritt Tierce won for fiction with her debut novel, Love Me Back, set in the world of Dallas’ high-end restaurants and low-paid waitresses. The other writer, poet Vanessa Angélica Villareal, is also a winner for her debut, a poetry collection, Beast Meridian.
These days, Tierce lives in LA, writing for television’s Orange is the New Black, and working on a second literary effort, this one, the Whiting website says, is “a book of autofiction about men, sex, writing, the internet, depression, being a woman, physicality, and television.”
Villareal is from the Rio Grande Valley. Her haunting, surreal poetry has been published in The Boston Review and The Academy of American Poets. She’s at work on her doctorate in English literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.