The winners of the Dobie Paisano Writing Fellowships for 2009-2010 are Sarah Bird and Diane Wilson.
The fellowships, sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Institute of Letters, allow writers to live and work at the Paisano ranch, J. Frank Dobie's 254-acre retreat west of Austin, now owned and maintained by The University of Texas at Austin.
Sarah Bird is a Texas Monthly columnist and the author of seven novels. Her latest novel, How Perfect Is That, a comic novel set in high and low Austin society, has won an Elle Magazine Reader’s Prize and is a Good Housekeeping Magazine Recommended Read. How Perfect Is That is in its third reprint.
Among the awards Sarah has received for her other novels are People Magazine’s Page Turners; Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great Writers; a BookSense Pick; New York Public Library's Books to Remember; Amazon’s Fiction and Literature Editors and the American Library Association’s Booklist Editors Best Book of the Year list; SW Critics Best Novel of the Year; Texas Institute of Letter’s Award for Best Work of Fiction, (twice); and Writer’s League of Texas Award of Literary Merit.
Sarah recently won a National Magazine Silver Award for her bi-monthly column, back page in Texas Monthly.
Her articles and essays have appeared in Oprah’s Magazine, New York Times Sunday Magazine, Real Simple, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Salon, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, MS, and Texas Observer.
Sarah has written screenplays for Paramount, CBS, Warner Bros, National Geographic, ABC, TNT, Hemdale Studio, and several independent producers. Sarah’s screen adaptation of her sixth novel, The Flamenco Academy, is being developed by Texas Avenue Films.
Diane Wilson is an activist and fourth-generation shrimper from the coast of Texas. She is the author of two books in An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadriftand Holy Roller: Growing Up in the Church of Knock Down, Drag Out; or, How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus. She is a co-founder of Code Pink, the women’s anti-war group based in Washington, DC and is the co-founder of Texas Jail Project, which advocates for inmate rights in Texas county jails. She was featured in the award-winning documentary Texas Gold and in Americans Who Tell the Truth, a portrait series by photographer Robert Shetterly. Wilson speaks frequently at Bioneers and other social-change conferences and has won numerous awards for her environmental work. She lives in Seadrift, Texas, where she is at work on her third book, forthcoming from Chelsea Green Publishing Company.
The runners-up for the Johnston Fellowship are Bruce Snider and Philipp Meyer. Snider is an award-winning poet and author of The Year We Studied Women. Meyer is a novelist whose recently released novel American Rust has received critical acclaim in the U.S. and abroad, currently being translated into seven languages. The runners-up for the Jesse Jones Fellowship are Ana Marcela Fuentes and Stacey Swann. Fuentes is a fiction writer with several stories published in distinguished journals. Swann is a fiction writer and the editor of the literary journal American Short Fiction.