SAFTA Announces Winners of Spring Residency Scholarships

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is pleased to announce Michael Chang, Ashley Taylor, Kelly McQuain, Kyle Dillon Hertz, and Gauri Awasthi as winners of the Spring residency scholarships. These residencies are designed to give artists time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment. 

The two winners of the Lambda Literary Fellowship are Michael Chang and Ashley Taylor

A Lambda Literary fellow, Michael Chang (they/them) was awarded the Kundiman Scholarship at the Miami Writers Institute. A finalist in contests at the Iowa Review, BOMB, NightBlock, & many others, their poems have been nominated for Best of the Net. Their manuscript, <big shot manifesto>, was selected by Rae Armantrout as a finalist for the Fonograf Editions Open Genre Book Prize.

Ashley Taylor [she/they] is a poet performer and an MFA candidate at Spalding University‚Äôs School of Professional and Creative Writing. They develop programming that amplifies emerging marginalized voices, focuses on themes of resistance and joy, and engages with texts that address themes of identity, conformity, and the body politic. Ashley is the co-creator and designer for Lipstick University, an online writing program for spoken word poets, as part of an artist collective with Rheonna Nicole (Lipstick Wars Poetry Slam) and Louisville Literary Arts. She is the founder of the reading series River City Revue and collaborative writing workshops Keep Poetry WEird, the author of The Metamorphosis of Narcissus (Damaged Goods Press, 2019) and a teacher at the Jewish Community Center in Louisville, Kentucky. You can find out more @

The winner of the Dr. Kristi Larkin Havens Memorial Fellowship is Kelly McQuain

Kelly McQuain is the author of Velvet Rodeo, which won the Bloom chapbook poetry prize. His prose, poetry and illustrations have appeared in The Pinch, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Rogue Agent, Spunk, Assaracus and Cleaver, as well as such anthologiesasThe Queer South, Drawn to Marvel, LGBTQ Fiction and Poetry from Appalachia, Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia, andRabbit Ears: TV Poems. As a visual artist, McQuain has won prizes from the Barnes Foundation and the William Way LGBTQ Center, and his series of writer portraits appear as cover illustrations at Fjords Review. He has been a Sewanee Tennessee Williams Scholar and a Lambda Literary Fellow, and he has received two fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

The winners of the Fellowship for Marginalized Writers are Kyle Dillon Hertz and Gauri Awasthi.

Kyle Dillon Hertz received his MFA in fiction from NYU, where he received the Writer in the Public Schools Fellowship. He is at work on The Lookback Window, a novel. He can be found on instagram @kyledillonhertz or at

Gauri Awasthi is an Indian poet and sustainability activist. She is currently an MFA candidate at McNeese State University in Louisiana, where she has been awarded the John Wood Poetry Prize. When not writing, she runs The Vegan Wardrobe (@theveganwardrobe) to raise awareness about cruelty-free fashion. Her writing has been previously published in The Wire, in two anthologies by Penguin (India), Buzzfeed, and others.


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