Culture, Too

Jack Jones Literary Arts is hosting its inaugural writing conference Culture, Too at the Kimpton Brice Hotel in Savannah, Georgia. This five-day conference will be held Monday, July 22nd- Saturday, July 27th, 2019, and is open exclusively to cultural critics of color. Partnering with Slate.com, a package of select criticism from the conference will be published in a digital anthology.

Vinson Cunningham, Culture, Too 2019 Director of Programming . Photo credit: Jane Bruce.

Vinson Cunningham, Culture, Too 2019 Director of Programming . Photo credit: Jane Bruce.

Fellows will apply in one of five disciplines: fine arts, food, popular culture, race, or gender and sexuality. Applicants will submit an unpublished piece of cultural criticism (“the manuscript”) demonstrating new writing and expertise in their corresponding discipline. The application includes a project description which should be speak to the questions the manuscript undertakes and the context of the manuscript within their field. Applicants will also need to submit clips of published work (reportage, academic papers, journalism, etc). All components of the application are required. As part of the conference experience, Culture, Too features daily roundtables with fellows and ambassadors to promote networking, learning, and engagement. Lowen Liu, Deputy Editor at Slate, will be on the ground with us to lead a workshop on pitching and the current job market. These sessions are mandatory for conference participants.

Professional and emerging critics of color with a record of stellar cultural criticism are eligible for fellowships. Writers of color with and without MFAs are eligible, and graduate students who are currently enrolled in a degree program are eligible to apply for a fellowship.

Each discipline will be led by a leader in the field, called an ambassador. The Fine Arts Ambassador will be Dr. Imani Perry, professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. Soleil Ho, restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle will join us as the Food Ambassador. Doreen St. Félix, staff writer at the New Yorker, will join us as the Popular Culture Ambassador, and investigative immigration reporter at Reveal, Aura Bogado, will join us as the Race Ambassador. Journalist and memoirist Meredith Talusan will join us as the Gender and Sexuality Ambassador. We are pleased to welcome Vinson Cunningham as Director of Programming. Vinson Cunningham’s essays, reviews, and commentary have appeared in the print and online versions of The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, New York Magazine, The Fader, McSweeney’s, and other outlets. He also teaches in the MFA Writing Program at Sarah Lawrence College.

We are pleased to offer fully-funded scholarship opportunities. The application deadline is Wednesday, May 1, 2019 midnight/PST. Acceptance notifications will be emailed on a rolling basis this year. Housing includes individual hotel rooms with private bedroom, private baths, writing areas, and WiFi. Continental breakfast every day and closing dinner on Friday will be provided.

To apply to Culture, Too, please fill out our online application. The application includes a project proposal, unpublished essay, and three clips of your best work. The non-refundable application processing fee is $30 and can be paid by PayPal, debit or credit card. Please consult our FAQs before applying. Please do not call our office regarding the conference. Your call will not be returned.

Arrival at the conference is Monday, July 22, 2019 and departure is Saturday, July 27, 2019.

Dr. Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. At Princeton she is also affiliated with the University Center for Human Values, The Program in Law and Public Affairs, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Jazz Studies. A scholar of legal history, cultural studies and African American studies. Perry is the author of 5 books, including Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, the winner of the 2019 Pen America Bograd Weld Award for Biography, and a New York Times Notable Book for 2018, May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem, a 2019 NAACP Image Award  nominee, and Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation, in addition to numerous scholarly articles. Perry has written book reviews, essays, and opinion pieces for newspapers and journals including Harper’s, the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Guardian and the Progressive. In September of 2019 her book Breathe: A Letter to my Son will be published by Beacon Press. She lives in Philadelphia with her two sons. 

Soleil Ho is the restaurant critic at the San Francisco Chronicle. Prior to this, she created the Racist Sandwich podcast, an interview-based show focused on how food intersects with race, class, and gender, and hosted BITCH Media’s Popaganda podcast. Her writing has appeared in GQ, Taste, The New Yorker, BITCH, Food & Wine, and many other publications. She is the co-author of Meal, a graphic novel about queer romance, culinary mentorship, and edible insects. In 2018, she won an 11th Hour Food & Farming Journalism fellowship through UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and she is also a Southern Foodways Alliance Smith Symposium Fellow. In addition to all of this, she has worked in various capacities in the restaurant world for about a decade.

Doreen St. Félix has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2017. Previously, she was a culture writer at MTV News. Her writing has appeared in the Times MagazineNew YorkVogueThe Fader, and Pitchfork. In 2016, St. Félix was named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Media. In 2017, she was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in Columns and Commentary.

Aura Bogado is an investigative reporter for Reveal covering immigration. Her work largely focuses on asylum-seeking children and adolescents held in federal custody by private contractors. She was previously the news editor for Colorlines and a writer for the Nation

Meredith Talusan is an award-winning journalist and author who is also the Executive Editor for them. They have written features, essays, and opinion pieces for many publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, VICE, Matter, Backchannel, The Nation, and the American Prospect. She has contributed to several books including the New York Times Bestselling Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay. Her memoir, Fairest, is forthcoming from Viking / Penguin Random House.

Culture, Too will culminate with a keynote conversation between Kiese Laymon and Patrisse Khan-Cullors on Friday, July 26. Authors of two of the most acclaimed books of 2018, Cullors and Laymon will provide invaluable insight for fellows into the cultural landscape of America today.

Photo credit: Valerie Macon

Photo credit: Valerie Macon

Photo credit: Timothy Ivy

Photo credit: Timothy Ivy


Patrisse Cullors is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter from Los Angeles, CA. Cofounder of Black Lives Matter and founder of Dignity and Power Now, she is also a performance artist, popular public speaker, and a New York Times bestselling author. She’s received many awards for activism and movement building, including being named by the Los Angeles Times as a Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century and the Sydney Peace Prize for her work with Black Lives Matter. Patrisse recently completed an international tour for her new book When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. This year Patrisse teamed up with digital media company blackpills to produce RESIST, a docu-series following her Los Angeles grassroots community’s efforts to stop a $3.5 billion jail expansion plan. In August 2018 Patrisse announced her new role as an adjunct professor at Arizona’s Prescott College where she will teach a course she created that examines, social practice, cultural work, and art impact on community organizing as part of the Social Justice & Community Organizing (SJCO) Master’s degree program. Patrisse is also completing her studies as a 2019 MFA candidate at the University of Southern California.

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University. Laymon is currently the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Nonfiction at the University of Iowa in Fall 2017.  Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division  and a collection of essays,  How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and Heavy: An American Memoir

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Good luck to everyone. Notifications will be emailed through June 1. Please read the FAQs before emailing us with your question.