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Concordia supports women writers through the new Susan Jeanne Briscoe Fellowship

Maria Isabel Martinez is the first to be honoured by the memorial award that seeks to empower and propel creative expression
September 22, 2023
By Vanessa Hauguel

Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts is proud to announce the establishment of the Susan Jeanne Briscoe Fellowship Award, made possible through a generous donation of $200,000 by the Briscoe family. This donation will provide continuous support over 5 years for the Susan Jeanne Briscoe Fellowship, empowering talented graduate women in their writing pursuits. Each year, a deserving recipient will be awarded a bursary of $35,000, allowing them to explore and excel in their creative endeavors.

Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts recently unveiled the Susan Jeanne Briscoe Fellowship Award and its inaugural recipient. This unique fellowship, dedicated to the memory of the late writer and artist Susan Jeanne Briscoe (B.A. McGill, M.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing at Concordia), is an initiative to support recent graduates of Concordia's MA, MFA and PhD programs on their creative journey. It seeks to empower and uplift women’s writing, offers financial assistance and provides talented individuals with a precious year to delve into their artistic endeavours.

The first recipient of this award is writer Maria Isabel Martinez, MA graduate in Arts, English Creative Writing option, 2023 for her story "Descent." The enthralling narrative delves into the life of Yanet Rendon, a resilient 22-year-old film production student navigating challenges in vibrant Toronto. Martinez's storytelling weaves together themes of female friendship, artistic creation and transgenerational trauma, shining a light on the Latin American immigrant experience in Canada.

With the fellowship's generous support of $35,000, Martinez will pursue research in Toronto's Latin American immigrant communities and Medellín, Colombia, bringing historical details and depth to her characters and their experiences.

"I’m sincerely grateful to the faculty of Fine Arts and the Briscoe Family for their support which will allow me to give this project a level of attention that would otherwise be difficult to give. And having recently graduated from the MA program in English, I feel the timing of the award to be encouraging and really exciting” Martinez says.

The Susan Jeanne Briscoe Fellowship offers an accessible opportunity to female writers and inspires innovative forms of creative expression. This fellowship sparks hope for a thriving future for women writers and a vibrant literary community.

The award is open to talented women who have recently completed a graduate degree at Concordia, displaying a strong commitment to women's writing. Eligible fields include Studio Arts, the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Creative Writing, the Humanities and Individualized programs. All genres, including poetry, fiction, dramatic texts, spoken word, screenplays and creative non-fiction are welcome.

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