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As a precaution to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and care for our community, Just Buffalo Literary Center has postponed a number of events, and we will follow the guidance of Buffalo Public Schools in terms of Just Buffalo Writing Center programming.

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Announcing the 2021 JBWC Youth Fellows

JBWC Fellowship winners 2021We are so excited to announce the 2021 Just Buffalo Writing Center Youth Fellows: Millie Rodriguez-Spencer and Sophie Zhu!

“These are two prolific writers with strong voices attuned to an informed listening and responsibility to community,” said final judge Christina Vega-Westhoff. “Each has worked to craft forms that hold energy and vibrations that get into the body. I find myself recalling their words and moving to their rhythms, more curious and attentive to the world around me.”

Millie Rodriguez-Spencer is a high school graduate from Buffalo, NY. She is a poet, recording artist, and visual artist who plans to begin her college career this fall by pursuing a certificate in music production. She is a multi-faceted and motivated individual who believes in pursuing each one of her passions and not abandoning one for another. She merges her poetry with songwriting, killing two birds with one sone. She says, “I won’t settle for one box.” During the fellowship, she will use comic and manga design to personify her poems and showcase her artwork.

Sophie Zhu is a rising junior from Williamsville, NY. A poetry alumna of The Adroit Journal‘s summer mentorshipher poetry can be found in Muzzle Magazineand has been recognized by the National Poetry Quarterly, Hollins University, and Smith College. Fascinated with deconstructionism and voicing the abstract, she is also a classical pianist, an avid mathlete, and an aficionado of prime numbers. This summer, she plans to pursue an interdisciplinary project exploring the antipodal through a variety of literary, musical, visual, and mathematical techniques, and creating a hybrid collection of work.

In addition to naming Rodriguez-Spencer and Zhu as this year’s fellows, seven writers were honored as finalists from the impressive pool of applicants: Elle Bader-Gregory, Theodore Bellavia-Frank, Liam Cobb, Haya Elamir, Rinn Kress, Ayden Link, and Katherine Rooney.

Thank you to all of this year’s applicants for sharing your work with us, and congratulations to Millie, Sophie, and our seven finalists. We look forward to reading, sharing, and celebrating your writing!

The Just Buffalo Writing Center Youth Fellowship offers motivated young writers from WNY the opportunity to develop their craft and explore professional avenues within the literary arts. More information about the fellowship, as well as this year’s winners, can be found here.