Artist Trust today named Whitman College Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of English and General Studies Johanna Stoberock as its 2019 LaSalle Storyteller Award recipient.
The 2019 award recognizes an outstanding literary artist working in fiction. Johanna authored novels “Pigs,” from Red Hen Press, and “City of Ghosts,” from W.W. Norton.
With the LaSalle award comes an unrestricted grant of $10,000 recognizing a Washington state artist engaged in storytelling through artistic discipline, according to a release.
“I am deeply honored to be the recipient of the 2019 Gar LaSalle Storyteller award and am forever grateful for the work that Artist Trust does.
“I cannot overstate the impact the award will have on my work — both through the time made available through the generosity of the funding and through the encouragement it gives to keep on going,” Johanna said in the release.
“I wouldn’t trade writing fiction for anything, but it’s a lonely process. When you write, it often feels like you are beginning what you hope will be a conversation. It takes a very long time to find out if there’s someone listening.”
“Sometimes it seems impossible that a listener will ever be found. Receiving the LaSalle Storyteller Award feels like someone saying that they’ve heard what I’ve said, that they want to join me in conversation and that they have faith in the value of what will be said next,” she said.
LaSalle, who created and funds the award that honors and celebrates master storytellers, said, “the provocateurs who in their art, help us find color and context, connect our diverse, personal experiences and in the swirling milieu, give us islands upon which to rest as we try to make sense of it all.”
Johanna earned a bachelor’s from Wesleyan University and a master of fine arts in fiction from the University of Washington, where she was the recipient of the James W. Hall prize for fiction.
Her short fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in Copper Nickel, Front Porch, Better: Culture & Lit, the 2014 Best of the Net Anthology and The Seattle Times, among other publications.
She was also featured in Augusta Sparks Farnum’s Questioning Artists column on Oct. 3 in the Union-Bulletin’s Marquee.
As part of The Great American Read winter programs series in early 2019, she presented a Big Idea Talk on “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White at the Walla Walla Public Library.
A 2012 Jack Straw Fellow, 2013 Artist Trust GAP award recipient, and 2016 Artist Trust LitEDGE alum, she has received residencies at the Corporation of Yaddo, the Vermont Studio Center and the Millay Colony.
Johanna has taught creative writing at the University of Washington, the Wesleyan Writers Conference and the Washington State Penitentiary.
In addition to work as a writer and teacher, Johanna has extensive experience in magazine and book publishing. She has worked as a book editor for William Morrow, Scribner and Grove Atlantic and as a research editor at numerous magazines including Men’s Journal and Rolling Stone. She lives in Walla Walla with her husband and two children.