In “Diversity Dialogues,” Issue 19 of Creative Nonfiction, celebrated authors like John Edgar Wideman, Francine Prose, Andrei Codescru, Terry Tempest Williams and Richard Rodriguez write essays about diversity that defy easy labels. To seek out new voices, Creative Nonfiction teamed up with JPMorganChase to offer a $10,000 prize for narratives about the challenges faced by outsiders in a world where “normal,” “regular” and “accepted” are the watchwords and all others are marginalized.
The collection includes an essay by Floyd Skloot, who, having suffered from a virus that attacked and damaged his brain 12 years ago, ponders his disabled status. Skloot is the recipient of the $10,000 Walter V. Shipley Award, named for the retired chairman of the Chase board. Long noted for its diversity initiatives and cited as a model for other financial institutions, Chase began concentrating on diversity issues under the guidance of Shipley, who sought to create a work environment that embraced a mix of race, cultures, ages, religions, and orientations.