Congratulations to literary artist Adriana Ramirez, winner of this year’s established artist Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Award. She is an acclaimed Mexican-Colombian literary artist with a national reputation for slam poetry and nonfiction writing. In 2016, she was named “Critic At Large” by the Los Angeles Times’ Book Section. Her writing has also appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, Guernica/ PEN America, Convolution, HEArt and Apogee. Ramirez writes about violence, race, politics, gender and culture in the U.S. and abroad. She describes herself as a “violentologist” who studies and writes about the effects of political and personal violence in Columbia, rural Mexico and the United States. She is working on nonfiction book that blends family oral histories with a larger national narrative grounded in her own exhaustive research as a journalist. Ramirez sees connections across geography and culture in this work, exploring questions such as “how a kid in Pittsburgh is connected to a guerrilla fighter in South America” and how people from Pittsburgh’s East Liberty to as far away as the Lower 50s in Barranquilla, Columbia, are influenced by American colonialism.
A critical component of her work is the tenuous nature of truth and the influence of personal bias when reporting about conflict. “These very human flaws are at the center of my writing. I'm interested in the moment when violence happens both in thought and action, how we let our humanity rival our animality,” she says.
Ramirez received a grant of $10,000 in 2019 from the Investing in Professional Artists program that also is a joint program of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments.
About the Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Awards
The Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Awards recognize the works and achievements of an established artist and an emerging artist and come with a $15,000 award for each, thanks to a shared commitment to the arts by The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments. Candidates are nominated by artists, the public and regional leaders in the arts, and are chosen by an independent panel of artists who review applications and work samples.