South Arts Announces Inaugural Literary Arts Fellows, 2024 Visual Arts Fellows

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South Arts is pleased to announce the inaugural class of State Fellows for Literary Arts alongside the 2024 State Fellows for Visual Arts in its flagship Southern Prize and State Fellowships program. As the latest expansion of the annual program, which scaled up this year to include support for the literary arts in addition to the longstanding visual arts component, the multi-state initiative is awarding 18 State Fellows with unrestricted cash prizes of $5,000 each; the artists are now in competition for the larger Southern Prize for Literary Arts and Southern Prize for Visual Arts awards.

Established in 2017, the Southern Prize and State Fellowships program was created in acknowledgment of a discrepancy in regional funding for artists across all disciplines, annually awarding a total of $80,000 to nine visual artists from each state in South Arts’ region: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Each selected artist receives a $5,000 State Fellowship award, with two of the artists receiving the Southern Prize awards with an additional $25,000 for the winner and $10,000 for the finalist, as well as a residency at an artist retreat space. Now, with the expansion to include literary arts, those numbers will double.

In addition to the cash awards, the artists will also be featured in upcoming public events. The nine State Fellows for Literary Arts will participate in a panel discussion in September at the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, MS, and the State Fellows for Visual Arts display their work in a touring exhibition that will open in October at the Art and Culture Center in Hollywood, FL, before moving to additional venues across South Arts’ nine state region.

“Supporting artists is a key component of our mission, ‘advancing Southern vitality through the arts’,” said Susie Surkamer, South Arts President and CEO. “We are thrilled to expand our work into the field of literary arts and celebrate the first nine State Fellows for Literary Arts as well as our nine State Fellows for Visual Arts. Over the coming years, we look forward to expanding our programs and exploring ways to deepen our engagement and support of  both literary and visual artists as well as the organizations and communities that we serve in our region.”

The 2024 State Fellows for Literary Arts are:

The 2024 State Fellows for Visual Arts are:

In this first cycle of the Southern Prize and State Fellowships for Literary Arts, the program focused on supporting fiction writers. The collective endeavors of this year's fellows span across diverse facets of the genre, delving into themes including multigenerational trauma, legacy, identity, Black girlhood, feminist ecopoetics, and the enduring impact of the confederacy. Forthcoming cycles will support various genres, such as poetry, drama/playwriting, creative nonfiction, and young adult fiction.

“2024 represents a major step forward as South Arts continues recognizing the incredible works of the region's visual artists, but begins the journey of celebrating writers who live and create in the American South,” said Emmitt Stevenson, South Arts Director of Artist Engagement.

In conjunction with the inaugural fellowship class for literary arts, the 2024 State Fellows for Visual Arts cohort represents a variety of individual artistic practices and disciplines. Their works survey topics such as identity, representation, social activism, memory, trauma, cultural heritage and tradition, migration, displacement, wellness, and care.

In addition to the $5,000 unrestricted awards, two of the nine artists from each program will be named the Southern Prize for Visual Arts and Southern Prize for Literary Arts winner and finalist. During ceremonies this fall, the prize winners and finalists will be announced and receive an additional $25,000 and $10,000 respectively. The Southern Prize winners and finalists will also receive time away at a creative sanctuary to focus on finalizing in-progress work or initiating and finalizing new work through an artist residency.

Recipients for both programs were selected from an open call for applications in which writers and visual artists from across the region were encouraged to apply. Review panels adjudicated submissions and made recommendations based on artistic excellence that reflects the region's rich diversity of artistic expression. Applications for the 2025 Southern Prize and State Fellowship program (both Literary and Visual Arts) will open October 2024.

The Southern Prize and State Fellowships program is supported by Southern First Bank, the Warner Fund, the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation, the State Arts Agencies of our region, and other donors. For more information about the Southern Prize and State Fellowship programs, application eligibility, and additional opportunities from South Arts, please visit

About South Arts
South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit