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WCDH Awards Writing About Mental Illness Fellowship

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow (WCDH) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2021 “Real People, Real Struggles, Real Stories: Writing About Mental Illness” fellowship, awarded to a writer working on a short or long work of non-fiction focusing on how they (the writer or another) have managed, and continue to manage, their mental illness. Susanna Childress was selected by a panel of judges from over 50 applicants for her writing project’s insight, honesty, hope, literary merit, and the likelihood of publication. Childress will receive a two-week residency at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, her first stay at a writers’ colony. She will be working on a series of micro-essays called “Extremely Yours,” dealing with the grief of giving birth to a stillborn child and her diagnosis of Prolonged Bereavement Disorder and Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Childress explains, “What began as a way of working through PBD and CPTSD turned into a book-length collection of essays, a profoundly hopeful one not only because I received (and continue to receive) therapy, but also because I gave birth to a live, healthy baby girl. But this path towards telling my story has widened—three essays of the collection are in tandem or epistolary form with other writers how hopefully endure bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and prolonged bereavement disorder.” WCDH Executive Director, Michelle Hannon, said, “Susanna has a very important, inspiring story to tell, and she tells it in a way that is creative and captivating. It’s an honor to have a writer of her caliber in residence at Dairy Hollow.”

Susanna Childress is an Associate Professor of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. She received her PhD in English, Creative Writing from Florida State University; her M.A. in English, Creative Writing from the University of Texas at Austin; and graduated summa cum laude from Indiana Wesleyan University with a B.A. in both English/Literature and English/Writing. Childress specializes in literary writing across genres, specifically modern and contemporary poetry, the short story and linked story collections, lyric essays, podcast writing, mixed-genre work and nature/environmental writing. She is the author of two prize-winning collections of poetry, Entering the House of Awe, and Jagged with Love, and has published many essays, poems, and short stories in a broad range of journals. She has served as an editor for publications ranging from the literary journal 32 Poems to the Reformed Church of America’s magazine Perspectives. Her research interests include women writers, the role of writing in social justice and activism, and contemporary Native American literature.

The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow would like to express their gratitude to long-time WCDH supporter and board member Sharon Spurlin for generously funding this fellowship.” For more information about sponsoring a fellowship supporting the genre and/or area of interest you are passionate about, visit

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