The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize

PresentED By The Feminist Press & TAYO Literary Magazine


Claudia D. Hernández brings us the immigrant experience in a refreshingly new light. This memoir of hybrid forms moving evocatively between poetry and prose—is not only timely but resonant in sense of place and purpose. How exciting that Hernandez’ voice joins the canon of contemporary Latinx stories.
— BRIDGETT M. DAVIS, WRITER // FINAL JUDGE
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Winner of the 2017
Louise Meriwether First Book Prize:
Claudia Hernández!

 

The Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine are honored to award the 2017 Louise Meriwether First Book Prize to Claudia Hernández. In Knitting the Fog, Hernández shares the story of her family’s migration from Guatemala to the United States, fusing poetry and narrative essay.

[ OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE ]

KNITTING THE FOG by Claudia D. Hernández is part-torch song and part-excavation. It is a hybrid book of short nonfiction interlaced with poems that mirror the turbulent fog one must survive when they are a child who must keep going, despite it all. It is a coming-of-age story of a young girl from Guatemala crossing the border and making a life that is hers in America. It is also a book of our times, a story of struggle and resilience, a warrior song that refuses to look or run away.
— MELISSA R. SIPIN, TAYO EDITOR // FINAL JUDGE

Claudia Hernández was born and raised in Guatemala. She is a mother, photographer, poet, translator, and bilingual educator residing in LA. Hernández holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is the founder of the ongoing project Today’s Revolutionary Women of Color. She cites Joy Harjo, Sandra Cisneros, and Lidia Yuknavich as literary ancestors and inspirations. Her winning book will be published by the Feminist Press in 2019.


Winner of the 2016
Louise Meriwether First Book Prize:
YZ Chin! 

The Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine are honored to award the 2016 Louise Meriwether First Book Prize to YZ Chin. Chin’s short story collection, Though I Get Home, explores oppression, dissent, artistic freedom, and the human condition through a series of interconnected vignettes set primarily in Malaysia.

[ OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE ]

‘The need to escape, to live, and to survive is rendered beautifully in these eclectic and visceral stories,’ explains judge Melissa R. Sipin, TAYO Editor-in-Chief. Ana Castillo, author of BLACK DOVE, found Chin’s work ‘intimate and complex’ and calls THOUGH I GET HOME: ‘a welcome read in American contemporary literature.’

YZ Chin was born and raised in Taiping, Malaysia. She now lives in New York, working as a software engineer by day and writer by night. She cites Karen Tei Yamashita, Toni Morrison, and Shirley Jackson as literary ancestors and inspirations. Her winning collection of stories, Though I Get Home, will be published by The Feminist Press in Spring 2018.


The Louise Meriwether Prize:

In 1970, Louise Meriwether published her novel of life in the post–Harlem Renaissance era, Daddy Was a Number Runner. Nearly fifty years later it is still considered a classic. Following Paule Marshall’s 1959 Brown Girl, Brownstones, Daddy Was a Number Runner is one of the first contemporary American novels featuring a young black girl as the protagonist. The book inspired the careers of writers like Jacqueline Woodson and Bridgett M. Davis, among many others.

In order to celebrate Meriwether’s achievements and continue her legacy, the Feminist Press has partnered with TAYO Literary Magazine to launch a contest seeking the best debut books by women writers of color and nonbinary writers of color.

First time authors, submit your complete manuscript, either fiction, including novels and short story collections, or narrative memoir, of 50,000 to 80,000 words, and you could receive $5,000 and a publishing contract from the Feminist Press!


THE SUBMISSION PERIOD IS NOW Open!

About the Prize:

The prize was founded in 2016 to honor the legacy of author Louise Meriwether by publishing a debut work by a woman or nonbinary author of color. The prize is granted to a manuscript that follows in the tradition of Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner, one of the first contemporary American novels featuring a young black girl as the protagonist. Meriwether’s groundbreaking text inspired the careers of writers like Jacqueline Woodson and Bridgett M. Davis, among many others. The prize continues this legacy of telling much-needed stories that shift culture and inspire new writers.

The inaugural prize was awarded to writer YZ Chin in 2017 for her short story collection, Though I Get Home. The Feminist Press will publish Chin’s collection in April 2018. In 2018, the prize was awarded to Claudia D. Hernández for her nonfiction fusion of poetry and narrative essay, Knitting The Fog (April 2019).

First time authors, submit your complete manuscript, either fiction or nonfiction (such as: novel, memoir, short story collection, biography, manifesto, or other work of nonfiction), of 30,000 to 80,000 words, and you could receive a $5,000 advance and publication by the Feminist Press.

Finalists will be notified in October. One winner will be announced in February 2019.

ELIGIBILITY:

The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize is open to women of color and nonbinary writers of color who are residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and US territories and possessions; 18 years of age or older at time of entry; and who have not had a book published or have a book under contract at the time of submission. All federal, state, and local regulations apply. LIMIT ONE ENTRY PER PERSON. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED. Candidates may not submit the same manuscript in subsequent years unless specifically invited by the Feminist Press. Employees of the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine and their immediate family members and persons living in their household are not eligible to enter.

JUDGING:

There will be two (2) rounds of judging, as follows:

Round 1: All entries will be reviewed by a group of judges made up of staff, board members, and allies of the Feminist Press and TAYO Literary Magazine. Finalists for the prize will be notified in October.

Round 2: The top five (5) submissions chosen in the first round will be reviewed by a panel of judges including acclaimed author Bridgett M. Davis, along with Feminist Press executive director and publisher Jamia Wilson and TAYO Literary Magazine editor in chief Melissa R. Sipin. The panel will choose one manuscript as the winning entry from that group. The winner will be announced in February 2019.

ENTRY PERIOD:

Contest entries will be accepted beginning at 12:01:01 AM (Eastern Time) on March 12018 and all entries must be received no later than 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time) on June 31, 2017. Entries submitted prior to or after the entry period will not be considered.

HOW TO ENTER:

All manuscripts should be sent to louisemeriwetherprize [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject line “First Book Prize” followed by your name and book title. Please send manuscript as a PDF, and also include a cover letter as a separate attachment with author statement, a brief bio, how your work fits with the Feminist Press, your manuscript’s word count, and a brief list of writers (up to three) you consider are part of your writing lineage. This document should also be a PDF.

The work submitted for consideration may not be under contract elsewhere.

PRIZE:

One winner will be awarded a $5,000 advance (half at the time of the initial award and half upon publication) and a contract to publish their book with the Feminist Press in print and digital editions in spring 2020. We expect to work closely with the winner and provide editorial guidance on their manuscript.

 

Please visit The Feminist Press for more detailed information.