Iowa Selected For 2023 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award

Prize Includes All-Expenses-Paid Trip to New York City and
Meetings with Publishing Professionals

New York, NY – January 4, 2023 – Poets & Writers, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization serving creative writers, invites writers from the state of Iowa to apply for the 2023 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award.

Each year, Poets & Writers welcomes poets and fiction writers from a selected state to apply for the award. This year, that state is Iowa.

The prestigious award, which aims to provide promising writers a network for professional advancement, has helped launch the careers of Sue Monk Kidd (The Invention of Wings; The Secret Life of Bees), David Mura (Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei), Mona Simpson (Case), Lidia Yuknavitch (Thrust), and others. Since Poets & Writers launched the Writers Exchange in 1984, 112 writers from forty-four states and the District of Columbia have participated. The award is generously supported by Maureen Mahon Egen, a member of the Poets & Writers Emeritus Board of Directors. 

The judges for 2023 are Megan Fernandes for poetry and Alejandro Varela 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 Iowa (currently and for at least the past two years) and must have published no more than one full-length book in the genre for which they are applying. Read the guidelines and submit an entry form here. Entries must be submitted by February 10, 2023.


Megan Fernandes is a writer living in New York City. She has published in the New Yorker, the American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Boston Review, Rattle, PANK, the Common, Guernica, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among others. Her most recent book of poetry, Good Boys, was published with Tin House Books in 2020. Her next collection, I Do Everything I’m Told, is forthcoming from Tin House Books in summer 2023. Fernandes is an associate professor of English and the writer-in-residence at Lafayette College, where she teaches courses on poetry, environmental writing, and critical theory. She is a former Yaddo fellow and holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MFA in poetry from Boston University. In 2021, she was a book reviewer for the Poetry Foundation. (Photo credit: Rivkah Gevinson.)

Alejandro Varela is a writer based in New York. His debut novel, The Town of Babylon (2022), was published by Astra House and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His story collection, The People Who Report More Stress, is forthcoming from Astra in 2023. Varela’s work has appeared in the Point Magazine, Georgia Review, Boston Review, Harper’s, and the Offing, among other outlets. Varela is an editor-at-large of Apogee Journal. His graduate studies were in public health. (Photo credit: Allison Michael Orenstein.)


Poets & Writers is the primary source of information, support, and guidance for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in the United States. 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.

Poets & Writers Magazine is the leading publication of its kind, reaching a readership of 125,000. Our website offers extensive free resources to help writers navigate the literary marketplace and a lively online community. Our programs include Readings & Workshops, which pays writers for giving readings and leading writing workshops in small towns and big cities across the country; Mapping the Maze, an online workshop that demystifies the publishing process and helps writers chart a path to publication; and Get the Word Out, a publicity incubator for debut authors. We sponsor the Jackson Poetry Prize and Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. We are guided by our core values of service, inclusivity, integrity, and excellence and are committed to becoming an antiracist organization. Learn more at

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