New York, NY—April 29, 2015—Poets & Writers announced today that fiction writer Joseph Langdon and poet Rosemary Powers are the winners of the 2015 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. 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), ElaineBeale (Another Life Altogether), Sandra Beasley (Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl), David Mura (Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei), FaeMyenne Ng (Bone), Mona Simpson (My Hollywood), and others.
Each year, Poets & Writers selects one state (or Washington, D.C.), and invites writers from that jurisdiction to apply for the Writers Exchange Award (WEX). For 2015, the state of Nevada was chosen. This year’s judges were Marie Myung-Ok Lee for fiction and Aracelis Girmay for poetry. Excerpts from the winning manuscripts can be found at at.pw.org/wexaward.
The Writers Exchange Award offers winners an unusual opportunity. Poets & Writers will ask Mr. Langdon and Ms. Powers to identify agents, editors, authors, and others in the literary field that they would like to meet. Then, over the next several months, staff will work to arrange appointments with as many of these individuals as possible. In October, the two winners will travel to New York City, all expenses paid, and representatives of Poets & Writers will accompany them on a round of visits to gain insight and advice and establish professional contacts. As a direct result of these meetings, past WEX winners have had their books published, received fellowships, secured teaching positions, and laid the groundwork for their professional lives as writers. To date, more than eighty writers from thirty-seven states have participated.
Joseph Langdon earned his BA in English from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, features writer, and columnist. During the 2010 election cycle, he served as a communications director and speechwriter on a campaign for U.S. Senate. His creative work has appeared in the anthology Lost and Found in Las Vegas (Huntington Press 2014) and the handmade zine The Salted Lash.
Rosemary Powers is completing her MFA in creative writing at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she also teaches composition. In 2008 she earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Chicago. She grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and has subsequently bounced between Chicago, Houston, and Las Vegas, where she worked as a legal assistant, waitress, office temp, and furniture salesperson. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband and her beloved dog.
The judges also cited first runners-up Marianne Chan from Las Vegas (in poetry) and Sharon Randall from Henderson (in fiction), and second runners-up Ann Keniston from Reno (in poetry) and Anh Nguyen Gray from Reno (in fiction).
Poets & Writers will sponsor a reading and reception for Mr. Langdon and Ms. Powers during their visit to New York. In addition, they are offered a one-month residency at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming. A complete list of past winners can be found at at.pw.org/wexaward. The Writers Exchange Award is generously supported by Maureen Mahon Egen.
About Poets & Writers
Founded in 1970, Poets & Writers is the nation’s largest nonprofit literary organization serving poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Our 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.
We accomplish this through Poets & Writers Magazine, an award-winning bimonthly publication; pw.org, a website that provides trustworthy advice, information, and a lively online community for writers; the Readings & Workshops Program, which pays writers fees for giving readings and leading workshops throughout New York and California, as well as in eight cities outside these states; Poets & Writers Live, a live events initiative; and awards for writers including the $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize, the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award, and the Amy Award. Learn more at pw.org.