Announcing the 2019 Arts Collective Grant Recipients


Announcing the 2019 Arts Collective Grant Recipients


by Sarah Feng

We are pleased to announce this year’s Arts Collective grant recipients, who were selected from our class of 2019 Arts Collective fellows.


Erin O' Malley (left) | Reading salon series in West Philadelphia

Ernest O. Ogunyemi (center)| Literary magazine for African writers

Maria Gray (right) | Investigative interview series with American survivors of sexual violence

Finalists: Beljita Gurung (independent art project), Kaitlyn Wang (literary magazine and high school poetry workshops), Stephanie Yen (music outreach programs in Greater Cleveland)

Congratulations to all grant recipients, who will receive a COUNTERCLOCK mini-grant of $100 to pursue their proposed projects in the literary arts. Grant recipients were chosen based on their commitment to the arts, nominations by Arts Collective mentors, and the ability of their proposed project to have a strong positive impact on the surrounding community. Finalists will not receive monetary grants, but were recognized for their vision and passion.

The COUNTERCLOCK grants are funded by the generous contributions of submitters who use our Feedback Corner service. If you would like to support our scholarship fund for 2020 Arts Collective fellows, you may learn more here.

About the Grant Recipients

Erin O' Malley (Philadelphia, PA) | Reading salon series in West Philadelphia

Erin Jin Mei O'Malley is a queer Asian American writer. Their work appears or is forthcoming in Redivider, wildness, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, and others. They have received a scholarship from the Lambda Literary Foundation and nominations for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. You can follow them @erino232.


"My proposed project is a reading salon series that features emerging queer and/or writers or color and fosters a sense of intimacy in the setting of my living space. This reading salon series will be hosted by me and will take place in my apartment in West Philadelphia, which also happens to be one of the most racially diverse neighborhoods in Philadelphia. For each monthly or bi-monthly salon, I will welcome submissions from local, emerging queer/writers of color and ideally feature a poet and a prose writer. I envision entry to these salons being free or by the donation of a potluck food to share with salon attendees. Despite Philadelphia being a major metropolitan city, the Philadelphia literary community has only recently begun to develop. By holding a reading salon series, I hope to connect marginalized writers in Philadelphia, especially those in West Philadelphia to one another. I also hope to expand the community of the reading salon series by hosting events such as book swaps or a reading of emerging writers alongside more established writers at the Kelly Writers House or the Penn Book Center.”

Ernest O. Ogunyemi (Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria) | Literary magazine for teen African writers

Ernest O. Ògúnyemí (b. 2000) is writer and spoken word artist from Nigeria. His works have appeared/ forthcoming in: Acumen Poetry Journal, Ricochet Review, Litro 'Comedy' Issue, Lucent Dreaming, Low Light Magazine, Canvas Lit Journal, Agbowó 'Limits' Issue, Rising Phoenix Review, Ink in Thirds, COUNTERCLOCK Journal (The Fellows’ Art Gallery), Erotica Africa: The Sex Anthology, and elsewhere. He is a 2019 Adroit Summer Mentee, and a 2019 COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective Fellow. Earlier this year he was selected by Zukiswa Wanner as one of the 56 writers from Africa to participate in the Goethe-Institute Afro YA Workshop. In 2018, he won the Association of Nigerian Authors NECO/Teen Prize for his manuscript of short stories, “Tomorrow Brings Beautiful Things: STORIES”. He currently serves as an Editorial Intern at COUNTERCLOCK Journal, and is at work on his first novel.


"While there is a high number of amazing talents—young writers, and potential editors—from Africa, there is almost no publishing space for them, no space for them to mature and grow. While there are magazines in the West that publish one two of us every now and then, while one or two of us get into Adroit’s Mentorship Program every year, there’s not even one that is ‘just’ for the budding African writer. Hence, this project.

The proposed project is a literary magazine for African writers, or young writers of African descent, between the ages of 15 and 19. The magazine will publish fiction, poetry, personal essays and visual arts. It will be an online magazine. The masthead of the magazine will consist of young writers of African descent, but we’ll have one or two established African writers as guest-editors for each issue. 

In a year after the drop of, what we believe will be, two issues of art and prose and poetry by the newest and yet unknown voices of African writers—we’ll start a mentorship program for these writers, with mentors been selected from the best of established African writers.”

Maria Gray (Lewiston, ME) | Investigative interview series with American survivors of sexual violence

Maria Gray is a writer and artist based in Lewiston, Maine. Her poetry can be found in Counterclock Journal and Indie Blu(e) Press' forthcoming anthology SMITTEN, as well as multiple anthologies from the Oregon Poetry Association and National Federation of State Poetry Societies. She is a 2018 Adroit Journal summer mentorship alum and spent summer 2019 as a creative writing fellow with the Counterclock Arts Collective. You can find her at


I will be creating an investigative interview series with American survivors of sexual violence. It’s an especially difficult time to be a survivor in the United States, and the scope and impact of sexual violence reaches far and wide, across industries, demographics, and communities. Our country is going to be grappling with trauma from gun violence, white nationalism, and sexual violence for a long time, and I would like to highlight the lives and timelines of survivors whose recovery processes have been disrupted by the rhetoric and policies of the Trump administration.”

About the Arts Collective

The COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective is an online, 4-week fellowship program that allows creative writers, visual artists, and musicians to explore, illuminate, and grow through collaborating on interdisciplinary projects.

Fellows participate in a free summer program, connect with talented and passionate peers, have around-the-clock access to highly accomplished mentors, and are eligible for a monetary stipend to help them pursue projects and arts-related initiatives.

For more information about the Arts Collective, visit here.



Sarah Feng is the editor-in-chief of COUNTERCLOCK Journal and the founding director of the COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective. Her works have been recognized by the Poetry Society of the United Kingdom, Teen Vogue, the Academy of American Poets, the Critical Pass Junior Poet Prize, the National Council of Teachers of English, and more. Find her work in the Adroit Journal and Gigantic Sequins. She plays piano and dabbles in charcoals, and she thinks rhythm and light and lyric pulse in every field of the creative arts – if you can call them distinct fields at all. In other words, she has faith in the power of the interdisciplinary arts and their persistence in our memories and minds. You can find her here.