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Ucross Receives Highly Selective Amazon Literary Partnership Grant to Support Emerging Writers

Ucross will welcome fiction writer Juan Alvarado Valdivia and non-fiction writer Sophie He in fall 2019

Ucross, WY — July 25, 2019 — Ucross, a world-renowned artist residency program and creative laboratory for the arts located in northeast Wyoming, recently received a grant from Amazon as part of the company’s prestigious Amazon Literary Partnership program. The Amazon Literary Partnership (ALP) supports the literary community through grants to writing programs and nonprofit literary organizations who champion emerging writers and diversity in storytelling. Ucross was awarded $20,000 from the program to support two writing residencies in its fall 2019 session, and it’s pleased to announce that the grant will support two emerging writers: Juan Alvarado Valdivia and Sophie He.

The Amazon Literary Partnership is committed to uplifting and amplifying overlooked and marginalized voices. Grants are given to organizations like Ucross, that support working writers by giving them the resources they need to tell their stories and find their readers. Ucross carefully curates a group of established and emerging artists for its fall and spring residency sessions. Like the Amazon Literary Partnership, Ucross seeks to support a diversity of voices and empower writers to create, experiment, and thrive.

Fiction recipient Juan Alvarado Valdivia is a Peruvian-American writer who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and raised in California. His writing has been published in The Acentos Review, Black Heart Magazine, The Cortland Review, Label Me Latina/o, and Origins Journal. His first book, ¡Cancerlandia!: A Memoir, received an Honorable Mention for the 2016 International Latino Book Award for Best Biography in English. His short story collection, Ballad of a Slopsucker, was recently published by the University of New Mexico Press. He is currently at work on a novel.

Sophie He is a nonfiction writer who lives and works between Los Angeles and St. Louis, Missouri. She studied communications at UCLA, and is currently an MFA candidate in creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Catapult, Lucky Peach, and Cosmonauts Avenue, among others.

Both Alvarado Valdivia and Sophie He will join a world-class roster of writers who have worked at Ucross’s ranch in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains since its establishment in 1981, including Colson Whitehead, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Yaa Gyasi, Annie Proulx, and recent National Book Award winner Sigrid Nunez.

“We’re honored that Amazon chose Ucross to receive this grant, which will provide these two outstanding writers the gift of space and time to create amidst a breathtaking Wyoming landscape,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “We’re especially thrilled that they recognized Ucross’s commitment to welcoming artists from all backgrounds at all stages of their careers, which means so much to us as an organization.”

“It’s inspiring for us at Amazon to see organizations like Ucross nurturing the work of emerging writers whose voices deserve to be heard,” said Neal Thompson, who manages the Amazon Literary Partnership and oversaw this year’s grant selections. “We look forward to seeing what Juan Alvarado Valdivia and Sophie He produce during their residencies at Ucross.”

In addition to selecting artists from a diverse range of backgrounds, Ucross has remained committed to supporting artists from the Native American community. The recently created Ucross Fellowship for Native American Visual Artists supports the work of contemporary Native American artists at all stages of their professional careers, awarding residencies that also include a public exhibition in the Ucross Art Gallery (located at 30 Big Red Lane, Clearmont, Wyoming) and an exhibition brochure. It has recently been open to disciplines that include painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video, performance art, installation, ceramics, and collaborative projects. Ucross plans to expand the Fellowship to include fellowships for Native American writers in 2020.

About Ucross

Located in northeast Wyoming in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, Ucross fosters the creative spirit of deeply committed artists and groups by providing uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations, and the experience of the majestic High Plains, while serving as a responsible steward of its 20,000-acre ranch. Residencies are awarded to nearly one hundred artists each year. Ten artists are in residence at one time, typically a mix of four visual artists, four writers, and two composers.

e Proulx, Terry Tempest Williams, Colson Whitehead, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Ricky Ian Gordon, Bill Morrison, Theaster Gates, Anthony Hernandez, Academy Award and Tony winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and recent National Book Award winner Sigrid Nunez. National partners of Ucross include the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the Whiting Foundation, the Alliance of Artist Communities, and the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel. The Ucross Foundation Art Gallery is a significant cultural resource for surrounding communities and beyond. For further information, visit


Ucross Foundation

Carly Fraysier |

Images available upon request