SFSU Creative Writing Department Bestows the 2020 Gina Berriault to Acclaimed Author Gabby Rivera

Thursday, July 30, 2020 - 14:12

For immediate release

July 30, 2020


The Creative Writing Department at SFSU, Fourteen Hills, and the Marcus Fund for Excellence in Creative Writing welcome Gabby Rivera, celebrated author of Juliet Takes a Breath, to a Zoom celebration to receive the 2020 Gina Berriault Award!  October 22, at 4pm.


The Gina Berriault Award was inaugurated by former SFSU Professor Peter Orner in conjunction with Fourteen Hills Press to pay homage to the writer Gina Berriault, who taught at San Francisco State and who with every story embodied a certain selflessness and unflinching compassion. The annual award honors a writer with a similar spirit and love for storytelling, as well as a commitment to supporting emerging writers. Past recipients include Cristina García, NoViolet Bulawayo, Yiyun Li, and Tommy Orange. The honored authors are selected by MFA and MA graduate students and staff of Fourteen Hills: SFSU Review.

Gabby Rivera is a Bronx-born, queer Puerto Rican author on a mission to create the wildest, most fun stories ever. She’s the first Latina to write for Marvel Comics, penning the solo series America about America Chavez, a portal-punching queer Latina powerhouse. Rivera’s critically acclaimed debut novel Juliet Takes a Breath was called “f*cking outstanding” by Roxane Gay and was re-published in September 2019 by Penguin Random House. Currently, Gabby is the writer and creator of b.b. free, a new original comic series with BOOM! Studios. Her podcast joy revolution is out now! When not writing, Gabby speaks on her experiences as a queer Puerto Rican from the Bronx, an LGBTQ youth advocate, and the importance of prioritizing joy in QTPOC communities at events across the country. Gabby makes magic on both coasts, currently residing in California. She writes for all the sweet baby queers, and her mom.

“Gabby Rivera writes Queer and POC themes in a vibrant and larger than life voice that simply consumes you,” said TreVaughn Malik Roach-Carter, a graduate student in SFSU’s Creative Writing Program and Fiction Editor at Fourteen Hills.   “Rivera’s Juliet Takes a Breath gives both marginalized voices and the Young Adult genre the spotlight they deserve.”

Professor Nona Caspers, Chair of the Creative Writing Department, added, “Joy in the midst of chaos—bring it on, Gabby Rivera. The Creative Writing community delights in your Latinx queer revolutionary spirit and vision and can’t wait to party with you on Zoom. Let’s all take a deep breath and welcome this empathic, literary hero.”

The award includes a cash prize of $2,000, made possible by the generous support of George and Judy Marcus.  Please join us on Zoom for this year’s celebration, October 22, 2020, at 4pm. The event is free and open to the public. Watch for the Zoom link closer to the date. All members of the SFSU community and public are warmly encouraged to attend.