The Speculative Literature Foundation is pleased to announce that its eleventh annual Older Writers Grant is awarded to Ada Milenkovic Brown.
Raised in Chicago by Yugoslavian refugees–a part Transylvanian mother who spit on things for luck, and a father who designed the first industrial robot to be used commercially in Japan–one of Brown’s earliest memories was playing Little Red Riding Hood while her mother acted out the other parts.
Brown says it was this grounding in storytelling that led her to devour Norse and Greek mythology in grade school, before she moved on to Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Zenna Henderson’s “The People” series.
Enamored with both writing and science, Brown became a microbiologist and trained medical students at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, while honing her fiction in the Greenville Writer’s Group.
But in 1985, Brown realized she couldn’t write, raise her children, and be a scientist, so she left science behind.
For the next twenty years, Brown struggled to balance being a full-time parent and a writer, but she persisted. Brown published humor, poetry, mainstream fiction, and even a fantasy novel she says punked fairytales in a way people weren’t used to then, but is all the rage now.
Eventually, Brown found her groove. In 2007, Brown made her first professional speculative fiction sale with “Wisteria”, a story filled with magic realism and featuring the Yoruban version of the Green Man. In 2011, her story, “Nadirah Sends Her Love”, was published by Crossed Genres and praised by Bull Spec as one of the best stories that year. It was also named an Honorable Mention for the Speculative Literature Foundation’s 2012 Older Writers Grant.
And now, two years later, the Speculative Literature Foundation continues to recognize Brown’s talent.
Older Writers Grant juror Constance Burris said this of Brown’s winning entry, “May I Speak Freely”: “It haunted me well after I finished it. Ms. Brown has a beautiful writing style, and I did not see the ending of this story coming at all. I was pleasantly surprised.”
Honorable Mentions for the 2014 Older Writers Grant go to Holly Schofield, James Stevens-Arce, John Walters, Lynne MacLean, and Michael McLaughlin.
The $750 grant is intended to assist writers who are fifty years of age or older at the time of the grant application, and who are just starting to work at a professional level.