Winners Announced in the 2016 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation announces the winners of the 2016 Award for College Writers in fiction and poetry.
In the fiction category, John S. Wilson III of Princeton University wins the $1,000 prize for his story “4, 6, 8.” The honorable mention in fiction and $250 goes to Clynthia Burton Graham of the University of Baltimore for her story “Miss Sage’s Anniversary Celebration.”
In the poetry category, Joy Priest of Rutgers University-Newark wins the $1,000 prize for her collection of eight poems. Two honorable mention prizes of $250 go to Vanity Hendricks-Robinson of Manhattanville College and Latasha D. Johnson of SUNY College at Brockport.
The fiction judge was Tiphanie Yanique, a novelist, 2015 Legacy Award honoree, and a professor in the MFA program at the New School in New York City. Commenting on the winning selection, Yanique said, “The prose was lovely and often bold on the level both of word choice and sentence.”
The poetry judge was Roger Reeves, a poet, 2015 Legacy Award honoree in poetry, and assistant professor of poetry at the University of Chicago. Reeves said, Priest’s work “exhibited an amazing amount of formal range and figurative rigor.”
The Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers is presented to Black college writers in the genres of fiction and poetry. For the third year, the award will be presented through the sponsorship of Amistad books, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. Tracy Sherrod, editorial director of Amistad said, “Amistad is invested in the growth of young writers. One of the ways we proudly show our support is by funding the College Writers Award.”
The award – the longest running program of the Hurston/Wright Foundation – encourages college creative writers with support early in their writing careers. Deborah Heard, executive director of the foundation, said “This early recognition has been rewarding for many young writers who go on to successful publishing careers.” Former Hurston/Wright college writers who have found publishing success include Brittany Bennett, Nate Marshall, Natalie Baszile, Mitchell S. Jackson, Jacinda Townsend, Tayari Jones, Ravi Howard, and David Anthony Durham.
The college winners and honorable mentions will be honored at the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Friday October 21st. The evening features the announcement of the winners of the juried awards for debut fiction, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as the presentation of awards for career achievements, before an audience of more than 200 literary stars and representatives of the publishing industry, media, politics, arts, and academia. The 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards continue the foundation’s tradition of recognizing literary excellence by writers from the United States as well as the international Black writing community