"What it gives me is time," says Scott, a professor of English at the University of Rochester. Next year she will take time off from teaching to work on her next project, which she says will be either a collection of related stories or a novel. She is the author of five novels, including Arrogance and, forthcoming from Little, Brown in February, Make Believe, the tale of a small child who has to endure an ugly custody battle.
Wright will use at least part of the prize to finance her current project, a collaborative effort with a photographer to explore life in Louisiana prisons. "It's very gratifying to be singled out," Wright says, "It's just a very nicely carved-out dollop of money which you can use wisely or foolishly." A former Rhode Island poet laureate, Wright has written nine books of poetry, including Deepstep Come Shining and Just Whistle.