Arts & Letters Prizes

Prize submission periods extended to April 15, 2020

22nd Annual Arts & Letters Prize Judges Announced

2020 Prize Judges

Poetry: Cate Marvin

Cate Marvin’s first book, World’s Tallest Disaster, was chosen by Robert Pinsky for the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize and published by Sarabande Books in 2001, for which she received the Kate Tufts Discovery Prize. Her second book of poems, Fragment of the Head of a Queen, for which she received a Whiting Award, was published by Sarabande in 2007. Marvin teaches poetry writing in the Stonecoast M.F.A. Program at the University of Southern Maine and is Professor of English at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. Her third book of poems, Oracle, was released from W.W. Norton & Co. in 2015. A recent Guggenheim Fellow, she lives in Scarborough, Maine.

Creative Nonfiction: Jason Allen

Jason Allen is an author and poet whose work has appeared in Salon, Literary Hub, Passages North, The Strand Magazine, Contemporary American Voices, Cream City Review, and many other venues. He has published two volumes of poetry, A Meditation on Fire and Gunmetal Blue. His novel, The East End, was released by HarperCollins in May, and is currently being developed for a dramatic TV series.

Fiction: Devi S. Laskar

Devi S. Laskar is the author of The Atlas of Reds and Blues, winner of The Crook’s Corner Book Prize 2020 for best debut novel set in the South, selected by The Georgia Center for the Book as a 2019 book “All Georgians Should Read,” and long-listed for the 9th annual DSC Prize in South Asian Literature. The novel was named by The Washington Post as one of the 50 best books of 2019, and has garnered praise in Booklist, Chicago Review of Books, The Guardian and elsewhere. Laskar holds an MFA from Columbia University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming from such journals as poem-a-day (, Indian Express and Crab Orchard Review. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She is an alumna of both TheOpEdProject and VONA, among others. In 2017, Finishing Line Press published two poetry chapbooks. A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., she now lives in California with her family. 

Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Fiction Winners will appear in next year’s Fall or Spring issue of Arts & Letters.

About the Prizes
For our prizes in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, we offer the winner a $1,000 prize and publication in the next year’s Fall or Spring issue. Our prizes are made possible through generous gifts to our prize endowments from Dr. Martin Lammon, Dr. Barry Darugar, Bahram and Fari Atefat, and other friends of Arts & Letters. If you are interested in contributing to our endowments, please contact us!

All submitters receive a digital subscription of Arts & Letters, which will include the issue prize winners are published in.

Submission Guidelines:

Please do NOT include your name on any part of the uploaded file you submit to any genre.  We accept most file formats (Word, .rtf, PDF).

We prefer, for the prizes, that your work not be simultaneously submitted. This helps us preserve the integrity of the contest(s). Our judges’ decisions are usually made by the end of May.

All fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction prize submissions will be considered for publication at regular payment rates.

All writers and poets writing in English are eligible to enter, excepting friends, relatives, or current and former students of the current-year judges.

The submission period for our annual prizes is February 1 – April 15. The entry fee is $20.

Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction:

Submit a manuscript of up to 25 pages, typed, double-spaced

Susan Atefat Prize for Creative Nonfiction:

Submit a manuscript of up to 25 pages, typed, double-spaced

Rumi Prize for Poetry:

Submit a manuscript of up to 4 poems, typed, single-spaced (poems need not be thematically linked, though it is fine if they are)

All submissions are through our Submittable site:




21st Annual Arts & Letters Prize Winners

Rumi Prize for Poetry
Judge: Gennarose Nethercott
WINNER: Karen Harryman, for “Theory”, “November”, and “Making”
Samuel Hughes
Anushah Jiwani
Diane Louie
John Sibley Williams

Fiction Prize
Judge: Peter Nichols
WINNER: Lones Seiber, for “Flight”
Kartika Budhwar

Susan Atefat Prize for Creative Nonfiction
Pam Houston
WINNER: Carol Keeley, for “Demon Feeding”
Gwen Ebert
Clinton Peters
Daniel Rousseau