Duplan, trans poet, curator and artist
 Anaïs Duplan, trans* poet, curator and artist, won the 2022 Whiting Prize for Literature and teaches at Bennington College. Photo by Lyndsy Welgos.

MILWAUKEE — Over the course of writing his book, “Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture," Anaïs Duplan transitioned from living as a woman to living as a man.  This April, “Blackspace” won the Whiting Prize for Literature — $50,000 awarded to writers in the process of completing a book-length work of nonfiction that is both researched and imaginatively composed.

“‘Blackspace’ was one of the first times that I even wrote about being trans*,” Duplan said in a phone interview from Vermont, where he lives. “For a while there was no reason for me to write about it.” Then he realized it was to open up the topic for others. 

“I didn't feel like it was relevant,” Duplan said, “and I also didn't feel quite ready to talk about it. It just took a while.” 

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J.O. Haselhoef is the author of “Give & Take: Doing Our Damnedest NOT to be Another Charity in Haiti.” She co-founded "Yonn Ede Lot" (One Helping Another), a nonprofit that partnered with volunteer groups in La Montagne ("Lamontay"), Haiti from 2007-2013. She writes and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.