New York, NY—July 14, 2022—Poets & Writers announced today that the winners of the 2022 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award are Kate Gaskin for poetry and Gene Kwak for fiction. 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), David Mura (Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei), Mona Simpson (Case), Lidia Yuknavitch (Thrust), 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 2022, the state of Nebraska was chosen. This year’s judges were Ru Freeman for fiction and Sandra Lim for poetry. Excerpts from the winning manuscripts can be found at at.pw.org/wexaward.
The Writers Exchange Award, which is generously supported by Maureen Mahon Egen, a member of the Poets & Writers Emeritus Board, is unique. It offers winners an unusual opportunity to meet with a group of leading literary professionals drawn from their personal wish lists. In October, Gaskin and Kwak will travel to New York City, all expenses paid, for a round of visits arranged by Poets & Writers with agents, editors, authors, and others in the literary field. As a direct result of connections established at 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, one-hundred-and-ten writers from forty-four states have participated. A complete list of past winners can be found at at.pw.org/wexaward.
Kate Gaskin is the author of Forever War (YesYes Books, 2020), winner of the Pamet River Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pleiades, the Southern Review, Guernica, and Ploughshares, among others, and her work has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019. She has received support from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Vermont Studio Center and is a poetry editor for the Adroit Journal. Currently, she is a PhD student in poetry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is also a writing instructor.
Gene Kwak has published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Rumpus, Literary Hub, Wigleaf, and Electric Literature. Go Home, Ricky! (Abrams, 2021) is his debut novel and was a Rumpus October Book Club Selection. The book has been featured in Vanity Fair magazine and Electric Literature's Recommended Reading and has garnered rave reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist among others. He teaches at the University of Nebraska Omaha.
The judges also cited first runners-up Saddiq Dzukogi (in poetry) and Avee Chaudhuri (in fiction), and second runners-up Todd Robinson (in poetry) and Olufunke Ogundimu (in fiction).
Poets & Writers will sponsor a reading and reception for Gaskin and Kwak during their visit to New York. In addition, the winners will be offered a one-month residency at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming.
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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, serving a readership of 100,000. 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 pw.org.