Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award

Established in 1984, the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award introduces emerging writers to the New York City literary community. 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 Invention of Wings, The Secret Life of Bees), Lidia Yuknavitch (The Book of Joan), Bryn Chancellor (Sycamore: A Novel), David Mura (Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei), and others. Since Poets & Writers began the Writers Exchange in 1984, one-hundred-and-four writers from forty-one states and the District of Columbia have been selected to participate. The award is generously supported by Maureen Mahon Egen, a member of the Poets & Writers Board of Directors.

Oklahoma Selected for 2020 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award

This year, writers from the state of Oklahoma are invited to apply for the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. One fiction writer and one poet will be selected. Winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to meet with top literary professionals, including editors, agents, publishers, and prominent writers. This year’s judges are DéLana R.A. Dameron for poetry and Eugene Lim for fiction. The submission deadline is January 6, 2020. 

Download the guidelines and application form here

2019 Winners: Lydia A. Cyrus and Jonathan Bolt of West Virginia

The winners of the 2019 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award are Jonathan Bolt for poetry and Lydia A. Cyrus for fiction. The judges were Bryn Chancellor for fiction and Patricia Spears Jones for poetry. In October, Ms. Cyrus and Mr. Bolt will travel to New York City, all expenses paid, to meet with editors, agents, publishers, and others in the literary community. In addition, they will each receive a $500 honorarium and present a public reading in New York City, hosted by Poets & Writers. The winners are also invited to participate in a one-month residency at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming.

Read the Press Release.

Read an excerpt from Jonathan Bolt’s manuscript, 2019 winner in poetry. (PDF)

Read an excerpt from Lydia A. Cyrus’s manuscript, 2019 winner in fiction. (PDF)


2019 WEX winners
Jonathan Bolt (left) and Lydia A. Cyrus (right) are the winners of the 2019 Writers Exchange Award. (Credits: Toni Nelson, Most Exalted.)


Past Winners 

  • Paige Ackerson-Kiely, Vermont
  • Constance Alexander, Kentucky
  • Nolde Alexius, Louisiana
  • Doug Anderson, Massachusetts
  • Kimo Armitage, Hawai‘i
  • Elaine Beale, California (*)
  • Sandra Beasley, Washington, D.C.
  • Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, California (*)
  • Sean Bernard, California (*)
  • Chana Bloch, California
  • Magda Bogin, New York
  • Anthony C. Brusate, Kentucky
  • B. J. Buckley, Montana
  • Claudia Burbank, New Jersey
  • John Caddy, Minnesota
  • John Campbell, Oregon
  • Karen Chamberlain, Utah
  • Bryn Chancellor, Alabama
  • Michael Chitwood, North Carolina
  • Sanda Moore Coleman, Kansas
  • Larry Colker, California (*)
  • Carolyn Coman, Massachusetts
  • Laura Joyce Davis, California (*)
  • Daniel Degnan, New Jersey
  • Joan Dempsey, Maine
  • Janet Desaulniers, Illinois
  • Denise Duhamel, Pennsylvania
  • Kim Edwards, Ohio
  • John Engman, Minnesota
  • Brian Evans-Jones, Maine
  • Blas Falconer, Tennessee
  • Roger Fanning, Washington
  • José Faus, Kansas
  • Sascha Feinstein, Indiana
  • Bryan Allen Fierro, Alaska
  • David Galef, Mississippi
  • Dorothy Gannon, Vermont
  • Elizabeth Graver, Massachusetts
  • Kate Green, Minnesota
  • Jean Hanson, Wyoming
  • Charlotte Holmes, Pennsylvania
  • Joshua Idaszak, Arkansas
  • Anushah Jiwani, Arkansas
  • Matthew Kailey, Colorado
  • Laura Kasischke, Michigan
  • Sue Monk Kidd, South Carolina
  • Miriam Kuznets, Texas
  • Mary La Chapelle, Minnesota
  • Robert Lacy, Minnesota
  • Dylan Landis, California (*)
  • Joseph Langdon, Nevada
  • Jeanne Leiby, Florida
  • Steven L'Italien, Arizona
  • Quitman Marshall, South Carolina
  • Deirdra McAfee, Virginia
  • Shena McAuliffe, Missouri
  • Jeanne McDonald, Tennessee
  • Mollye Miller, Maryland
  • Harry Moore, Alabama
  • Jim Moore, Minnesota
  • Lee Ann Mortenson, Utah
  • Delisa Mulkey, Georgia
  • David Mura, Minnesota
  • Patrick Murtagh, Montana
  • Rhonda Nelson, Florida
  • Fae Myenne Ng, California
  • Elizabeth Oness, Wisconsin
  • Jill Osier, Alaska
  • Craig Santos Perez, California (*)
  • David Peterman, Ohio
  • Paul Pfeiffer, Indiana
  • Rosemary Powers, Nevada
  • C. L. Rawlins, Wyoming
  • David Reynolds, Michigan
  • Brad Richard, Louisiana
  • Andrés Rodriguez, Missouri
  • Ruth Roston, Minnesota
  • Angela Rydell, Wisconsin
  • Diza Sauers, Arizona
  • Nancy Schoenberger, New York
  • Adam Schwartz, Maryland
  • Rebecca Seiferle, New Mexico
  • Barbara Selfridge, California
  • David Dean Shavit, Illinois
  • Pamela Shephard, New Mexico
  • Aleda Shirley, Mississippi
  • Mona Simpson, New York
  • Gregory Blake Smith, Minnesota
  • Matthew Stadler, Washington
  • Norman Stock, New York
  • Susan Straight, California
  • Craig Taylor, California
  • Willett Thomas, Washington, D.C.
  • Alicia Upano, Hawai‘i
  • Reetika Vaziriani, Virginia
  • Jane Wampler, Colorado
  • Lauren K. Watel, Georgia
  • David Weaver, North Carolina
  • Susan Welch, Minnesota
  • Allison Benis White, California (*)
  • Lidia Yuknavitch, Oregon

(*) Winners of the California Writers Exchange, which was offered periodically from 2004 to 2013, with support from the James Irvine Foundation.

Read more about past WEX Award Winners. (PDF) 

Read an essay by past winner Brian Evans-Jones.(PDF)

Watch a video of past winner Sandra Beasley speaking about the award.