In 2018, Ernestine Shanklax’ Hayes house caught fire, His writing came to a halt while he spent countless hours negotiating with contractors and insurance. She lived in hotels and apartments, using her lifetime savings to fix up the house.
$50,000 United States Artist Fellowship She was honored last week, allowing her to recover from her loss and return to writing.
,I was out and about and I didn’t have any time at all to set up a computer and write,” Hayes said. “But I was writing on my iPad and writing notes to myself and a lot of when things would happen. Was doing all the texting.”
Now, the house is almost complete, and she’s rebuilding her life.
“This fellowship allows me to pay the IRS on all of this, all of these expenses for home rehab and allows me to be able to rent my little apartment,” Hayes said. “I’m in a better place now. And it’s going to allow me to devote more of my time and attention and energy to writing and my next book.
This is exactly the kind of thing the Fellowship was created for. it has been awarded Artists in many fields, from architecture to theatre, to writing, at any stage of their careers.
He said that receiving fellowships and prizes like this gave Hayes more than money. It has made her feel valued.
“When I got Rasmussen Distinguished Artist [in 2021]I realized I was part of a community, which is something I never fully felt in my entire life,” Hayes said. “And it made me feel valued.”
Her next book, she said, is about what she calls the “spoken forest”.
Hayes said, “The thought came to me that there are beings in the spoken forest who are relatives and they are holding on to us everything we think we have lost.” “The people we don’t find, the people who go missing, the people who run away from boarding schools and are never found. And probably everyone who walks into the woods, I think they’re all still out there. And I am sure that when the time comes and we enter the forest, they will be there to greet us.”
She kept track of these thoughts through the chaos of losing her home. Now, with this award, he is one step closer to putting them down on paper.