spirit award

The emi kuriyama spirit award was created by friends of emi kuriyama to honor her generous and tender soul after her death at the age of 24 in 2016. emi was a prolific writer whose vibrant curiosity led her to produce an expansive body of work that insisted on play and active collaborations as ways to live. This award is meant to enliven the themes in her writing—those of care, absurdity, and transformation—in hopes that her legacy continues in the work and lives of other creative souls.


The emi kuriyama spirit award was conceived of by emi’s collaborator and friend, artist iris yirei hu, who has archived and cared for kuriyama’s work upon her passing. The spirit award aims to support emerging writers and artists based in Los Angeles, and is created in response to the lack of direct writer and artist grants in the county. Through the organizing efforts of Sue Bell Yank, Jennifer Moon, and Sarah Williams, along with the generous contributions of a community of donors, we are offering two unrestricted grants of $2,000 each to one writer and one artist who is in a transitional moment in their life or work, and demonstrates a commitment to working with others. The notion of transition is meant to be open and expansive to multiple possibilities, such as, but not limited to, bodily transitions (e.g., aging, genders, pregnancy, health), geographic transitions (e.g., a cross-country move, displacement, im/migrations), spiritual transitions, and/or a transitional shift in a creative practice. Just as emi’s work centered her friends and the ways we relate to one another, we seek work that embodies the spirit of collaboration, friendship, and worlding.



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