Join BMI as we welcome our incoming Shearing fellows: comics artist Amy Kurzweil; and poet, visual artist and performer Vi Khi Nao; and novelist and journalist Ahmed Naji, BMI’s City of Asylum fellow. Whether their work explores the idea of home, or finds inspiration in hybrid forms of art-making, all three create dynamic narratives about identity, memory, and place.
Amy Kurzweil is a writer and cartoonist. Her cartoons appear regularly in The New Yorker, and her first book, Flying Couch: a graphic memoir, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and a Kirkus Best Memoir of 2016. Her writing, comics, and cartoons have also appeared in The Believer Magazine, Longreads, The Awl, The Toast, Shenandoah, and Hobart. Her work has been nominated for a Reuben Award, and she’s received fellowships and honors from The Norman Mailer Center, and MacDowell. Amy lives in Brooklyn and is working on her second graphic memoir with Catapult/Black Balloon: Artificial, a story about resurrection through technology.
Ahmed Naji is an Egyptian novelist and journalist. He is the author of several books, Rogers, Seven Lessons Learned from Ahmed Makky, Using Life, and The Mystery of the Murdered Mahragan Singer, as well as numerous blogs and other articles. On May 16, 2016, PEN honored Ahmed Naji with the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award recognizing his struggle in the face of adversity for the right to freedom of expression. Ahmed was sentenced for two years in prison after being accused of “violating public modesty” with Using Life. He spent 2016 in prison, and after three years of struggle with the Egyptian legal system, he was able to leave the country and move to Las Vegas with his family.
Vi Khi Nao is the author of poetry collections Sheep Machine and Umbilical Hospital, and of the short stories collection, A Brief Alphabet of Torture, which won FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize in 2016, the novel, Fish in Exile, and the poetry collection, The Old Philosopher, which won the Nightboat Books Prize for Poetry in 2014. Her work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. Her stories, poems, and drawings have appeared in NOON, Ploughshares, Black Warrior Review, and BOMB, among others. She holds an MFA in fiction from Brown University.