Arkansas Selected for Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award

New York, NY – August 28, 2017 – Poets & Writers, the nation's largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers, invites writers from the state of Arkansas to apply for the 2018 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award.
Each year, Poets & Writers invites poets and fiction writers from a selected state to apply for the award. This year, that state is Arkansas.

The prestigious award, which aims to provide promising writers a network for professional advancement, has helped to launch the careers of Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees), Elaine Beale (Another Life Altogether), Sandra Beasley (Don't Kill the Birthday Girl), David Mura (Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei), Fae Myenne Ng (Bone), Mona Simpson (My Hollywood), and others. Since Poets & Writers launched the Writers Exchange in 1984, more than ninety writers from thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia have been selected to participate. The award is generously supported by Maureen Egen, a member of Poets & Writers Board of Directors and retired deputy chairman and publisher of Hachette Book Group USA.

The judges for 2018 are Cheryl Boyce-Taylor for poetry and Porochista Khakpour for fiction. One winner in each category will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to meet with top literary professionals, including editors, agents, publishers, and prominent writers. While in New York, winners will also give a reading hosted by Poets & Writers. In addition, each winner is invited to spend a month at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Banner, Wyoming. To be eligible, writers must be residents of Arkansas (currently and for at least the past two years), and must have published no more than one full-length book in the genre in which they are applying.

Download the guidelines and application form here. Entries must be postmarked by January 8, 2018.

About the 2018 Judges

Cheryl Boyce-Taylor is a poet and teaching artist. A recipient of the 2015 Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award, she is the founder and curator of Calypso Muse and the Glitter Pomegranate Performance Series. Cheryl earned an MFA in Poetry from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast program, and an MSW from Fordham University. She is the author of four collections of poetry: Raw Air, Night When Moon Follows, Convincing the Body, and Arrival, newly released from Northwestern University Press in 2017. A poetry judge for the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Orlando Poetry Prize, she has facilitated poetry workshops for Cave Canem, Poets & Writers, Poets House, and the Caribbean Literary and Cultural Center. A VONA fellow, her work has been published in Callaloo, Poetry, Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Pluck!, Killings Journal of Arts & Letters, Adrienne, and Prairie Schooner.

Porochista Khakpour is the author of the forthcoming memoir Sick (Harper Perennial, May 2018), and the novels The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014)—a 2014 "Best Book of the Year" according to NPR, Kirkus Reviews, BuzzFeed, PopMatters, Electric Literature, and more—and Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove, 2007)—the 2007 California Book Award winner in "First Fiction," a Chicago Tribune's "Fall's Best," and a New York Times "Editor's Choice." Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera America, Bookforum, Slate, Salon, Spin, CNN, the Daily Beast, Elle, and many other publications around the world. She has had fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the University of Leipzig (Picador Guest Professorship), Yaddo, Ucross, and Northwestern University's Academy for Alternative Journalism, among others. She has been writer-in-residence at Bard College, adjunct faculty at Columbia University, and visiting faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts' MFA program. Born in Tehran and raised in the Los Angeles area, she lives in New York City's Harlem.

About Poets & Writers 

Founded in 1970, Poets & Writers' work is rooted in the belief that literature is vital to sustaining a vibrant culture. We focus on nurturing literature's source: creative writers. Our mission is to foster the professional development of poets and writers, to promote communication throughout the literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public. Learn more at