Announcing the Adroit Journal’s 2023 Djanikian & Veasna So Scholars!

The Adroit Journal is proud to announce the sixth class of Gregory Djanikian Scholars in Poetry and the inaugural class of Anthony Veasna So Scholars in Fiction—twelve exciting emerging poets and fiction writers we should all be watching. All emerging poets and fiction writers who have not published full-length collections or novels were eligible for submission—regardless of age, geographic location, and educational status.

Selected from a competitive pool of international applicants, Djanikian and Veansa So Scholars receive stipends and publication. 

The 2023 class of Gregory Djanikian Scholars in Poetry includes: Erik Jonah (of Eugene, OR), Willie Kinard III (of Newberry, SC), Emily Lawson (of Vancouver, Canada), Sarah Fathima Mohammed (of Los Gatos, CA), Kelan Nee (of Houston, TX), and Gabriel Ramirez (of New York, NY).

The 2023 class of Anthony Veasna So Scholars in Fiction includes: Vincent Chavez (Santa Paula, CA), Ani Cooney (of Los Angeles, CA), Kelly X. Hui (of Chicago, IL), Gracie Newman (of Austin, TX), Tierney Oberhammer (of Brooklyn, NY), and Marguerite Sheffer (of New Orleans, LA).

More information about each scholar is available below.

We couldn’t be more excited about each unique, vibrant voice we’ve been fortunate enough to acquaint ourselves with this year. Each of these writers brings an undeniable fire to the page, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll write next.

Finalists for the 2023 Scholar classes include Sara Afshar (of Ypsilanti, MI), Kaya Dierks (of San Francisco, CA), Brian Gyamfi (of Ann Arbor, MI), Laura Joyce-Hubbard (of Highland Park, IL), Jake Lancaster (of Minneapolis, MN), Kéchi Nne Nomu (of Brooklyn, NY), Jonny Teklit (of Washington, DC), Amy Wang (of San Diego, CA), and Hua Xi (of Brooklyn, NY). 

Our 2023 Semifinalists include: Catherine Bai · Stephanie Chang · Kennedy Coyne · Hannah Olabosibe Eko · Cristina Fries · Yong-Yu Huang · Jimin Kang · Ashley Keyser · Evelyn Maguire · Alyson Mosquera Dutemple · Kwame Opoku-Duku · Troy Osaki · Weijia Pan · Genevieve Payne · Tanvi Roberts · Naomi Shuyama Gómez · Nick Story · Sher Ting · Matthew Tuckner · Olivia Treynor · Jésus I. Valles · David Joez Villaverde · Nova Wang · Eric Yip.


Vincent Chavez (Fiction) is a Chicano writer from Santa Paula, CA. His fiction has appeared in the Southern Review, Wigleaf, Joyland, Kweli Journal, and the Masters Review. He is a Tin House Scholar and his work has been supported by the Macondo Writers Workshop and the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.F.A. in fiction from Virginia Commonwealth University.

A UCLA and VONA alum, Ani Cooney (Fiction) is the winner of a PEN America / Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize. His work can be found or is forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Epiphany Magazine, Best Debut Short Stories: The PEN America Dau Prize and elsewhere. He is One Story magazine’s 2022 Adina Talve-Goodman Fellow.

Kelly X. Hui (Fiction) is a student journalist, abolitionist community organizer, and ghost writer (person who writes about ghosts). She is a Mellon Mays fellow studying English, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies, and Creative Writing at the University of Chicago. In her free time, she works as a barista in the basement coffee shop of the divinity school.

Erik Jonah (Poetry) (they/them) has work published or forthcoming in Five Points, Ecotone, Foglifter, the Hopkins Review, and elsewhere. A nonbinary writer, they were a finalist for the 2018 Francine Ringold Award for New Writers and were recently awarded a residency at the Mineral School in Washington. Erik has taught in the Bronx, in Ohio, and at a school for runaway and homeless youth in Eugene, Oregon.

Willie Lee Kinard III (Poetry) (he/they) is a Black nonbinary poet, designer, educator & musician forged in Newberry, South Carolina & the author of ORDERS OF SERVICE (Alice James Books, 2023), winner of the 2022 Alice James Award. His musings include surrealist portraiture, gospel deep cuts, Black folklore & superstition. With words in or forthcoming in Obsidian, Poem-A-Day, Best New Poets Anthology, The Rumpus, & elsewhere, he is a Pushcart Prize nominee & a Fellow of The Watering Hole Writing Retreat. Go see ’bout them at

Emily Lawson (Poetry) is a poet and PhD candidate in philosophy at the University of British Columbia. As a former Poe/Faulkner Fellow in poetry at the University of Virginia, she taught poetry and served as editor for Meridian. Her poems and lyric essays appear in Sixth Finch, Indiana Review, Waxwing, THRUSH, Muzzle, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. Her pushcart-nominated fiction appears in BOOTH. She is a stage-III colon cancer survivor.

Sarah Fathima Mohammed (Poetry), daughter of Indian Muslim immigrants, is the 2021-22 National Student Poet of the West, the nation’s highest honor for youth poets, and the 2022-23 Vice Youth Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County. She has been honored for her poetry at the White House and has performed at PBS’s Poetry in America, Carnegie Hall, and the San Francisco Opera House. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, Cream City Review, Rattle, and wildness. She was born in 2005.

Kelan Nee (Poetry) is a poet, educator, and carpenter from Boston, Massachusetts. He holds an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Houston. He is the winner of the 2023 Vassar Miller Prize for his manuscript, Felling, which is forthcoming from University of North Texas Press in 2024. His poems appear in POETRY, The Missouri Review, The Yale review, and elsewhere.

Gracie Newman (Fiction) is a writer from Buffalo, NY. She is currently a fellow in fiction at the Michener Center at UT Austin, and she holds a degree in English from Stanford University. Her work has appeared in Joyland, Nimrod, and elsewhere.

Tierney Oberhammer (Fiction) is a writer currently working on a collection of short stories and a novel. She is a member of the Wildcat Writing Group and an MFA Candidate at Randolph College, where she was awarded a Blackburn Fellowship. Tierney’s work has been published in swap pink and Feministing. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with Jamie and Wavy. Learn more about Tierney at

Gabriel Ramirez (Poetry) is a Queer Afro-Latinx poet and teaching artist. Gabriel has received fellowships from Palm Beach Poetry Festival, The Watering Hole, The Conversation Literary Arts Festival, CantoMundo, Miami Book Fair, and a participant in the Callaloo Writers Workshops. You can find their work in publications like The Volta, Split This Rock, Vinyl, Acentos Review, as well as Bettering American Poetry Anthology (Bettering Books, 2017), What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump (Northwestern University Press, 2019), and The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT (Haymarket Press, 2020). Follow Gabriel @ramirezpoet and

Marguerite Sheffer (Fiction) is a writer and educator who lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Dread Machine, Cast of Wonders, The Pinch. Maggie is a founding member of Third Lantern Lit, a community writing collective, and volunteers at 826 New Orleans. She is a member of the Nautilus and Wildcat Writing Groups. She received her MFA from Randolph College. You can find her online @mlensheffer.


At its foundation, The Adroit Journal has its eyes focused ahead, seeking to showcase what its global staff of writers sees as the future of poetry, prose, and art. The journal hosts the annual Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose, the Gregory Djanikian Scholars Program, the Anthony Veasna So Scholars Program, and the online Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program.

Featured in Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prizes: Best of the Small Presses, Poetry Daily, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets, and by the New York Times, the Paris Review, Teen Vogue, PBS NewsHour, and NPR, the journal has featured the voices of Terrance Hayes, Arthur Sze, Joanna Klink, D. A. Powell, Edith Pearlman, Jericho Brown, Kim Addonizio, Raymond Antrobus, Victoria Chang, Eve L. Ewing, Lydia Millet, NoViolet Bulawayo, Ocean Vuong, Arthur Sze, Sarah Kay, Ned Vizzini, Fatimah Asghar, Danez Smith, and beyond.

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