The Louise Meriwether First Book Prize

PresentED By The Feminist Press & TAYO Literary Magazine

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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.


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.
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.

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.


‘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.


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 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!

AND WILL reopen In spring 2018.

Please visit The Feminist Press for more detailed information.