We are now accepting submissions for the 2023 prize. Deadline for submissions is February 28, 2023.
- May be up to 15,000 words in length but no more than 100 pages. The Chautauqua Janus Prize encourages writing that challenges conventional presentation and publication of fiction/nonfiction in the English language.
- Must be either unpublished or published no earlier than April of 2022.
- Must be authored by emerging writers of fiction/nonfiction. Emerging writers are defined as writers who have yet to publish their first book (exceeding 15,000 words and/or 100 pages) in any prose genre. (Poets: This prize was created to support emerging writers. Reconsider your eligibility if you have published one or more poetry collections, even if our word count parameters technically qualify you.) There is no age or citizenship status restriction for eligibility.
- May be nominated by the authors themselves or on an author’s behalf by editors or creative writing program directors. Self-nominating authors may submit no more than two entries per submission period. Editors and program directors must have the consent of authors to nominate their work and may nominate no more than three entries per submission period. Nomination by an editor program or press/magazine does not preclude an author from submitting additional self-nominated entries.
- Complete the Submittable form, including fee payment*, by the advertised deadline EST. Please use PDF format. Contact Sony Ton-Aime at firstname.lastname@example.org if PDF format is not ideal for your submission.
- Meet formatting specifications where possible. If your submission’s prior publication or experimental form simply aren’t conducive to Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, and double-spacing, know that we will give full consideration to all legible PDF submissions.
- The deadline for submissions is February 28, 2023.
*The fee is waived for submissions nominated by editors or program directors. We invite authors to encourage their editors and/or program directors to contact Sony Ton-Aime at email@example.com to learn more!
Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce “On Impressions” by Lily Taylor as the winner of the 2023 Chautauqua Janus Prize
In another record-breaking year for submissions, Lily Taylor’s “On Impressions” was selected by guest judge Michael Martone among nine finalists. Taylor will receive the $5,000 prize, plus a $2,000 travel-and-lodging stipend. She will give a public lecture and reading at a celebratory event at 5 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 16, 2023, in the parlor of the Athenaeum Hotel as part of the Chautauqua Institution’s 2023 Summer Assembly.
A nonfiction writer with a specialization in lyric essays, Taylor holds degrees from the University of Oklahoma and Auburn University. She will start law school at the University of Virginia this fall. “On Impressions” will be published by the Chautauqua Literary Arts and made available for purchase throughout the 2023 Summer Season at the bookstore and the CLSC Octagon building.
“Winning the Chautauqua Janus Prize is a dream beginning to my career,” Taylor said upon receiving the news. “I wrote “On Impressions” as a way to try and better understand myself, never daring to hope that it might connect with others. I am honored to have my name associated with the Chautauqua Institution’s, as well as with the work of my fellow finalists.”
Congratulations also go out to the 8 other finalists selected by our readers: Olamide Aremu, Sarah Aziza, Esinam Bediako, Vickie Chang, Agnes Hanying Ong, Naomi Shuyama Gomez, Blas Ulibarri and Amber Wheeler Bacon
The 2023 Chautauqua Janus Prize guest judge is Michael Martone. Michael Martone’s new books are PLAIN AIR: SKETCHES FROM WINESBURG, INDIANA and THE COMPLETE WRITINGS OF ART SMITH, THE BIRD BOY OF FORT WAYNE, EDITED BY MICHAEL MARTONE. He is the author of a dozen other books of fiction and nonfiction including THE BLUE GUIDE TO INDIANA, MICHAEL MARTONE, a memoir in contributors notes, and THE FLATNESS AND OTHER LANDSCAPES which won the AWP award for nonfiction. After 40 years, Martone retired from teaching creative writing having taught at Iowa State, Harvard, and Syracuse Universities, Warren Wilson College, and the University of Alabama. He lives and gardens in Tuscaloosa.
Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce “Jean” by Stephanie Nina Pitsirilos as the winner of the 2022 Chautauqua Janus Prize
As the author selected from five finalists by guest judge Aisha Sabatini Sloan, Pitsirilos will receive $5,000 and will give a public lecture and reading at a celebratory event 5 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in the parlor of the Athenaeum Hotel as part of the Chautauqua Institution’s 2022 Summer Assembly.
A prose and comic book writer with work in numerous anthologies and a 2021 Broken Pencil finalist zinester, Pitsirilos has been called a new voice “transforming the genres” of science fiction and fantasy, and “revitalizing the short comic form.” She holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Columbia University. She’s also a board member of Graphic Mundi (Penn State University Press) and a submissions panelist for CEX Publishing.
“Jean,” which first appeared in Speculative Fiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology (Mad Creek Books, 2021) is “a bold and masterful rearranging of genres, part speculative fiction, part family memoir, that uses comic book pop culture to tell a deeply moving story of intergenerational trauma in the United States,” said Sony Ton-Aime, the Michael I. Rudell Director of Literary Arts at Chautauqua Institution.
Congratulations also go out to the 4 other finalists selected by our readers: Shabnam Bozzelli, Hillary Flynn, Karolina Letunova and Ife O. Ola.
The 2022 Chautauqua Janus Prize guest judge is Aisha Sabatini Sloan. Aisha Sabatini Sloan was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her essay collection, The Fluency of Light: Coming of Age in a Theater of Black and White was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2013. Her most recent essay collection, Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit, was chosen by Maggie Nelson as the winner of the 1913 Open Prose Contest and published in 2017. That book went on to be nominated for the Iowa Essay Prize, and to win CLMP’s Firecracker award for Nonfiction. Kiese Laymon called the essays in the collection, “innovative, inspiring, sobering, and absolutely terrifying while daring every other essayist in the country to catch up.”
Enyeribe Ibegwam Wins Fourth Annual Chautauqua Janus Prize
Author Will Give Online Lecture and Reading as Part of Chautauqua Institution Summer Assembly
Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce “After School Hours” by Enyeribe Ibegwam as the 2021 winner of the Chautauqua Janus Prize.
As the author selected from nine finalists by judge Rion Amilcar Scott, Ibegwam receives $5,000 and will present a public lecture and reading at a celebratory event at 3:30 p.m. EDT Friday, July 30, as part of the online portion of Chautauqua Institution’s 2021 Summer Assembly.
Raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Ibegwam has been awarded a PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize, was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and was a 2020 finalist for the Chautauqua Janus Prize. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in PEN America Best Debut Stories 2019, Prairie Schooner, The Southampton Review, Auburn Avenue, The Georgia Review and Transition Magazine. He’s a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Congratulations also go out to the 8 other finalists selected by our readers: Blake Chapman, Jonathan Escoffery, Elana Lev Friedland, Elizabeth Hoover, Tamar Jacobs, Caitlin McGill, Kat Mustatea and Jasmina Nogo
The 2021 Chautauqua Janus Prize guest judge is Rion Amilcar Scott. Scott is the author of the story collection, The World Doesn’t Require You (Norton/Liveright, 2019). His debut story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky, 2016), was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has been in publications such as The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2020 and Crab Orchard Review among others.
Joseph Earl Thomas wins third annual Chautauqua Janus Prize
Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce “Reality Marble” by Joseph Earl Thomas as the 2020 winner of the Chautauqua Janus Prize.
As the author selected from 16 finalists by judge Hilary Plum, Thomas receives $5,000 and will present a public lecture and reading at a celebratory event at a date to be determined as part of Chautauqua Institution’s online assembly season this summer. His writing will also appear in a future issue of the literary journal Chautauqua.
Hailing from Philadelphia, Thomas is a doctoral student in English at the University of Pennsylvania whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Offing, Gulf Coast and The Kenyon Review. Being an emerging writer, Thomas said, means “applying and submitting to hundreds of places where you feel the work might fit or be in conversation with other art you love and admire,” and he was surprised and honored for his work to be selected for the Janus Prize, “which thinks so deliberately about aesthetics and the social world simultaneously.”
Full press release | The Chautauqua Janus Prize logo (pdf)
Congratulations also go out to the 15 other finalists selected by our readers: Natalia Andrievskikh, Katharine Coldiron, Jonathan Escoffery, Vishwas R. Gaitonde, Cameron Gorman, Lauren Green, Enyeribe Ibigwam, Brianna Johnson, Tyler Meese, Diane Mehta, Lily Meyer, Manini Nayar, Christopher Santantasio, Joseph Thomas, Mi West and Nick Zelle
The 2020 Chautauqua Janus Prize guest judge is Hilary Plum. Plum is the author of the novel Strawberry Fields, winner of the Fence Modern Prize in Prose (2018); the work of nonfiction Watchfires (2016), winner of the 2018 GLCA New Writers Award; and the novel They Dragged Them Through the Streets (2013). She is an associate college lecturer at Cleveland State University and in the NEOMFA program, and is associate director of the CSU Poetry Center. Plum will also be a Chautauqua Writers’ Center writer-in-residence during Week Six of the 2020 summer season, leading a prose workshop on “Bodies in language, bodies of language.”
My Tran Wins Second Chautauqua Janus Prize
Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce “Tree rings, like concentric ghosts” by My Tran as the 2019 winner of The Chautauqua Janus Prize.
As the author selected from eight finalists by judge Vi Khi Nao, Tran receives $5,000, elevated this year from the original prize of $2,500, plus all travel and expenses for a summer residency at Chautauqua during the 2019 summer season. Tran will present a public lecture and reading at a celebratory event with music and refreshments at a date to be determined on the Institution’s grounds. Their writing will also appear in a future issue of the literary journal Chautauqua.
Tran said they were honored to be chosen for a prize that celebrates formal innovation.
“Here is a space where I let playful associations bridge the cut between sense and nonsense, between the languages that cohere and fall apart in my body, between fact and fiction,” Tran said of “Tree rings, like concentric ghosts.” “So, I am thrilled to be a part of the conversations at Chautauqua Institution, where dialogue is woven across disciplines, genres, and impulses, always attuned to our social and political climate.”
Full press release | The Chautauqua Janus Prize logo (pdf)
Congratulations also go out to the 8 other finalists selected by our readers: Lucy Biederman, Jonathan Escoffery, Afsheen Farhadi, Taraka Hamada, Leah Hampton, Kelsey Peterson and Brenda Peynado.
The 2019 Chautauqua Janus Prize guest judge is Vi Khi Nao. Nao is the author of Sheep Machine, Umbilical Hospital, A Brief Alphabet of Torture (winner of FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize in 2016), the novel Fish in Exile, and the poetry collection The Old Philosopher (winner of the Nightboat Books Prize for Poetry in 2014). Her work includes poetry, fiction, film and cross-genre collaboration. Her stories, poems and drawings have appeared in NOON, Ploughshares, Black Warrior Review and BOMB, among others. She will also be a writer-in-residence at Chautauqua Writers’ Center during the 2019 summer season.
Atlas of the Body Wins 2018 Chautauqua Janus Prize
Atlas of the Body (Black Lawrence Press) by Nicole Cuffy is the first-ever winner of The Chautauqua Janus Prize.
As the author selected from 16 finalists by Kazim Ali, Cuffy received $2,500 and all travel and expenses for a summer residency at Chautauqua. A public lecture and reading took place on Wednesday, July 25, in the Athenaeum Hotel Parlor on the Institution’s grounds, with music and light refreshments. Her writing will soon appear in the forthcoming issue of Chautauqua literary journal.
“In Atlas of the Body, I asked myself what would happen if I treated prose as more pointillistic than linear—if I used narrative to offer brief islands of illumination,” Cuffy said. “I am honored to be the first recipient of the Chautauqua Janus Prize, which celebrates the deconstruction of form and literary convention.”
Full press release | Book Cover | The Chautauqua Janus Prize logo (pdf)
Congratulations also go out to the 15 other finalists selected by our readers: Mary-Kim Arnold, Deborah Augustin, Ayeh Bandeh-Ahmadi, Sam Cohen, S. Brook Corfman, Claire Cronin, Nicole Cuffy, Kolby Harvey, Brianna Johnson, Jason Lipeles, Alicia Mountain, Ruby Hansen Murray, Brenda Peynado, Sejal Shah, Shawn Wen, and Courtney Zoffness
2018 guest judge Kazim Ali is the author of books in many genres, including Inquisition, a book of poems, and Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies, a hybrid memoir. An associate professor of creative writing and comparative literature at Oberlin College, Ali was also a 2018 writer-in-residence at Chautauqua Writers’ Center.