Arts & Letters Prizes

Prize submission period February 1st – March 31st

25th Annual Arts & Letters Prize Judges Announced

2023 Prize Judges

Poetry: Rodney Jones

Rodney Jones lives in New Orleans. His honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize. His twelfth book, Alabama, will be forthcoming in 2023 from Louisiana State University Press in their Southern Messenger Poetry Series.


Creative Nonfiction: Sue William Silverman

Sue William Silverman is an award-winning author of seven works of creative nonfiction and poetry. How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences won the gold star in Foreword Book of the Year Award and the 2021 Clara Johnson Award for Women’s Literature. Other books include Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction, made into a Lifetime TV movie; Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, which won the AWP Award; The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew; and Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir. She teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Fiction: Francesca Ekwuyasi

Francesca Ekwuyasi is a learner, artist, and storyteller born in Lagos, Nigeria. Her work has explored themes of faith, family, queerness, consumption, loneliness, and belonging. She was awarded the Writers Trust Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ2S+ Emerging Writers in 2022 for her debut novel Butter Honey Pig Bread (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020). Butter Honey Pig Bread was also shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award, the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, and longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the DUBLIN Literary Award. CBC’s Canada Reads: Canada’s Annual Battle of the Books selected Butter Honey Pig Bread as one of five contenders in 2021 for “the one book that all of Canada should read.” Championed by Roger Mooking, the book made it to the grand finale, where it placed second.

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!


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 – March 31st. 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:


23rd Annual Arts & Letters Prize Winners

Rumi Prize for Poetry Judge: Romeo Oriogun WINNER: L.A. Johnson, for “Where Warm and Cool Air Meet,” “Downriver,” “Radiant Stranger,” and “House Full of Someones” Finalists: Danielle Williams, Monique Ferrell, Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Tom Laichas, Sally Lipton Derringer, George Kramer, Christopher Shipman, Doug Ramspeck, and Betsy Sholl

Arts & Letters Prize for Fiction Judge: Novuyo Tshuma WINNER: Karen Day, for “The Cellar” Finalists: Thomas Maya, “El pan de cada dia,” Perry Glasser, “Not That Anyone is Asking,” and Reena Shah, “Stardust”

Susan Atefat Prize for Creative Nonfiction Judge: Kristi Coulter WINNER: Lee Anne Gallaway-Mitchell, for “The Tax of Quick Alarm” Finalists: Jill Christman, “The Sandbox Ghost,” Frank Walters, “Judging the Distance,” Mary Petty Anderson, “Newt Terrell,” and David Mairowitz, “Transcribing Robert”