Sundress Academy for the Arts Announces Winners of Fall 2023 Residency Fellowships

Knoxville, TN – The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is pleased to announce Angie Kang, Joshua Merchant, Cari Muñoz, and Akira Drake Rodriguez as the recipients of our Fall 2023 residency fellowships and travel stipends. These residencies are designed to give writers time and space to explore their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment.

Photo of Angie Kang

Angie Kang is a Chinese American writer and illustrator living in the California bay area. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in The Believer, Catapult, The Rumpus, Narrative, The Offing, Ecotone, Shenandoah, and elsewhere. Kang has received support from Tin House and VONA/Voices, and she is presently working on her debut book, Our Lake (Kokila 2025). More of her work can be found at or on twitter/instagram @anqiekanq.

Photo of Joshua Merchant

Joshua Merchant is a Black Queer native of East Oakland exploring what it means to be human as an intersectional being. A lot of what they’ve been exploring as of late has been in the realm of loving and learning what that means while processing trauma, loss, and heartbreak. They feel as though it has become too common to deny access to our true source of power as a means of feeling powerful, especially for those of us more marginalized than others – a collective trauma response if you will. However, they’ve come to recognize with harsh lessons and divine grace that without showing up for ourselves and each other, everything else is null and void. Innately, everything Merchant writes is a love letter to the unapologetically Black and unabashedly Queer. Because of this they’ve had the honor to witness their work being held and understood in literary journals such as 580Split, Roi Fianeant Press, Snow Flake Magazine, Corporeal, Anvil Tongue, Verum Literary Press, Ice Floe Press, Mongoose and elsewhere. They’ve recently received the 2023 San Francisco Foundation/Nomadic Press Literary Award for poetry.

Photo of Cari Muñoz

Cari Muñoz is a queer, non-binary poet and letterpress artist born and raised in Los Angeles, California. They received their B.A. in Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz and an M.F.A. from Arizona State University. They were the 2022-2023 Artistic Development & Research Assistant for the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands at Arizona State University. Their work has appeared in such publications as SALT Literary Journal, Queer Rain Anthology, and more.

Akira Drake Rodriguez is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design.  Her research examines the ways that disenfranchised groups re-appropriate their marginalized spaces in the city to gain access to and sustain urban political power. She is the author of Diverging Space for Deviants: The Politics of Atlanta’s Public Housing, which explores how the politics of public housing planning and race in Atlanta created a politics of resistance within its public housing developments. She is also the lead author of A Green New Deal for K-12 Schools, through her work with the climate + community project. She has received funding from the Spencer Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Innovation Initiative and Projects for Progress funds to support her work around school facilities planning in Philadelphia public schools. Her next book manuscript examines the role of Black women community organizers in producing collective care in the built environment in the absence of capital and presence of harm over the 20th century.

Finalists for this year’s fellowships included  M.R. “Chibbi” Orduña Carretero, Christine Barkley, SG Huerta, Megan Kim, Mason Martinez, Abigail Raley, and noam keim.

Applications are now open for our Spring 2024 residencies with fellowships available for LGBTQIA+ writers and Black and/or Indigenous writers. Find out more on our website.

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