MCLA Student Shawna Hennessey Named 2021-22 Melville Fellow by Berkshire County Historical Society

October 27, 2021

MCLA student Shawna Hennessey ’22 has been chosen as a Melville Fellow for 2021-22 by the Berkshire County Historical Society, along with two other students from local colleges.  

The fellowship program, which began in 2018, annually awards outstanding Berkshire County college students the opportunity to work at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead to create one or more pieces of original writing inspired by Arrowhead’s surroundings and the BCHS collection. Arrowhead’s Writer-in-Residence Emeritus Jana Laiz spearheads the program and works in groups and individually with each fellow from September 15—December 15.  

Fellows will read their original works at a public event in February, 2022. “I am excited to work with these talented, passionate young writers in this very meaningful space, mentoring them and helping them hone their craft,” said Laiz. 

Hennessey, a creative writing major from Lunenburg, Mass., said she is excited to be part of the fellowship program. “It gives me the opportunity to write in an environment full of like-minded people who care about writing as much as I do and puts me in a place where I am forced by the very atmosphere to write pieces that I'm passionate about just as Herman Melville did,” she said. “I hope to get out of this experience a more disciplined approach to my writing and pursue my passion of storytelling.”  

The other 2021-22 fellows are Aylen Dominguez, a student at Berkshire Community College, and Hazel Richards, a student at Williams College.