P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Stephen Narain, 2012

Novelist and essayist

Stephen Narain is an immigrant from Bahamas

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MFA in Creative Writing/Fiction at University of Iowa

Stephen Narain was raised in Freeport, Bahamas by Guyanese parents, both educators who fled the Burnham dictatorship in 1982. He and his family immigrated to Florida twenty years later when Stephen was sixteen.

A recipient of a John Thouron Prize for Study at Cambridge University, he earned an A.B. with High Honors in English from Harvard College and an M.F.A. in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as a Paul and Daisy Soros New American Fellow.

Stephen has taught writing at The Door: A Center of Alternatives, the University of Iowa, and Valencia College, where he directed the Winter Park Campus’ writing center and organized the Ilyse Kusnetz Writing Festival.

His work has appeared in Small Axe: A Platform for Caribbean Criticism, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Moko, and Wasafiri’s special issue on the afterlives of indentured labor.

He is the winner of the Bristol Short Story Prize, the Alice Yard Prize for Art Writing, the Small Axe Project’s Fiction Prize—judged by Merle Hodge, Marlon James, and Shani Mootoo—and the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Youth Activist Scholarship for work assisting attorneys defending the First Amendment. He has held residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and Aspen Summer Words. In 2012, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest selected Stephen for its New Talent Showcase spotlighting promising Caribbean authors.

Stephen is completing work on two book projects: a coming-of-artist novel set between the West Indies and the United States in the 1950s and 1960s and a collection of essays and conversations exploring the relationship between artmaking and freedom in Caribbean and diasporic culture. He lives in Orlando.

  • MFA Creative Writing/Fiction | University of Iowa 2013
  • BA English | Harvard University 2008
Work History
  • Novelist and essayist
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