Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo
Homeless Youth Alliance
The Habitants: A Novel of Walt Whitman in New Orleans

Suzanne Rivecca is a fiction writer living in San Francisco. In July, she published her first book, Death Is Not an Option (W.W. Norton, 2010), a short story collection informed by her Catholic midwestern background, her interest in the construction of self-identity after trauma, and her years of experience working with homeless people in the nonprofit sector.

At Radcliffe, Rivecca will work on her second book for Norton, a novel called The Habitants, which examines the relationship between a 28-year-old Walt Whitman and his younger brother, Jeff, during the three months they lived in New Orleans in 1848. The novel will explore the personal and artistic revelations that shaped Whitman during his brief stint as a reporter for the Daily Crescent, where he was exposed for the first time to the true face of the slave trade and the day-to-day reality of the South under the strain of impending secession. Rivecca will access papers relating to Whitman and holdings on antebellum New Orleans in the Harvard Libraries, including the Schlesinger Library, to illuminate the many worlds Whitman straddled in his official capacity as journalist and his unofficial capacity as a student of life.

Rivecca’s fiction has received the Pushcart Prize, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Historic New Orleans Collection, and the MacDowell Colony. She received her MFA in fiction from the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities and is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.
Photo by Tony Rinaldo