Harvardwood congratulates writer Youmna Chamieh ‘22 and musical theater composer/lyricist Julia Riew ‘22, who are the recipients of the inaugural Mia and David Alpert Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship.
In addition to receiving a $24,000 grant to support her work, each Fellow will be paired with an alumni mentor to offer professional guidance and support during the term of the Fellowship (June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023).
Youmna Chamieh is a senior in Adams House studying Government and English. Originally from Lebanon, she grew up in Paris with her two sisters. During the fellowship year, she will work on original pieces, including a collection of short stories. Though these stories all gravitate towards Lebanon, at their core is the belief that, as Salman Rushdie puts it, “the past is a country from which we have all emigrated, whose loss is part of our common humanity.”
Youmna’s mentor will be Jennifer Joel ’98, who is a literary agent, partner, co-head of the Publications department and member of the board at ICM Partners, where she represents a diverse group of writers of both fiction and nonfiction: literary and commercial novelists for adults and young readers, historians, biographers, memoirists, journalists, strategists, adventurers and entertainers. Her clients include Senator Cory Booker, Chris Cleave, Nelson DeMille, AJ Finn, Stuart Gibbs, Graham Moore, Evan Osnos, Shonda Rhimes, Adam Rubin, Jennifer E. Smith, Lisa Taddeo and Leif Babin & Jocko Willink.
Julia Riew is a senior in Lowell House studying Theater, Dance, Media (TDM) and Music. In 2018, Julia co-founded the Asian Student Arts Project (ASAP) and co-wrote their first production, The East Side. Her recent works include Alice’s Wonderland; Jack and the Beanstalk: A Musical Adventure which was commissioned for the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.)’s 2020 Family Musical; and Thumbelina: A Little Musical (The A.R.T. 2019 Family Musical).
Julia will spend her Fellowship year creating new musical theater projects for stage and screen and further developing her senior thesis, an original musical called Shimcheong: A Folktale. Her mentor will be award-winning composer/lyricist/writer Laurence O’Keefe ‘91 (Legally Blonde: The Musical, Bat Boy: The Musical).
Due to the strong display of talent in the inaugural Fellowship applicant pool, Harvardwood and the sponsors doubled their initial commitment to support two Fellowship winners, and they also named five finalists who will each receive a $1000 grant to support their work. Those finalists are writer Juan Arenas ‘22, visual artist Kelsey Chen ‘22, writer-director Jasiel Lampkin ‘20, musician-composer Ria Modak ‘22, and comedian Freddie Shanel ‘21.
The Harvardwood Artist Launch Fellowship is open to graduating seniors or recent Harvard alumni working or seeking to work in the arts, media, and entertainment fields. It will be awarded annually to at least one artist, with the inaugural term running from June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023, and subsequent terms also planned for a June-to-May cycle with applications open in October and due by early January.
Photo credit / Youmna Chamieh: Emilia Cabrera
Photo credit / Julia Riew: Ramona Park