April 15, 2008 — Poet Sandra
Beasley and fiction writer Willett Thomas, both of Washington, D.C.,
are the recipients of the 2008 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. The award,
sponsored by Poets & Writers— the nation’s largest nonprofit organization
serving creative writers— provides two writers with an honorarium and
all-expenses-paid trip to New York City in October to meet with agents,
editors, publishers, and other members of the New York literary community. Judges for this year’s prize were fiction
writer Tayari Jones and poet Frank X Walker.
Beasley won the 2007 New Issues
Poetry Prize for her book Theories of
Falling (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2008), selected by Marie Howe. Her
poems have also been featured in Verse Daily and Best New Poets (Samovar Press, 2005) and in journals such as 32 Poems, Barrow Street,
Blackbird, RHINO, and SLATE. Awards
for her work include the 2006 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize from Passages North
and fellowships to Vermont Studio
Center for Creative Arts, and the Millay Colony. She serves on the editorial
staff of The American Scholar.
spending most of her professional life in the nonprofit world, Willett Thomas
earned her MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins and started writing
fiction in earnest in 2003. She has been published in Bark, Emergency Almanac
Review, Gabriel’s Horn, Northern Virginia Magazine, and Trinity Review. In 2007, she was
selected as the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation creative fellow for Washington, D.C.
To date, 76 writers from 30 states have participated in P&W’s Writers
Exchange. As a direct result of the Writers Exchange, past winners– notably Sue
Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Lives of
Bees– have had their books published, received awards and fellowships,
secured teaching positions, and laid the groundwork for their professional
lives as writers.
ABOUT THE MAUREEN EGEN WRITERS EXCHANGE
in 1984, the Writers Exchange is a unique program that provides writers with
significant opportunities for professional advancement. Each year, a new state
is chosen to participate in the program and writers from that state are invited
to submit their work according to announced contest guidelines. Outside judges
choose one poet and one fiction writer for this prize. The award is named for
Maureen Egen, retired Deputy Chairman and Publisher, Hachette Book Group USA. Check our website at www.pw.org in August for
information about the 2009 Writers Exchange.
ABOUT POETS & WRITERS
& Writers is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative
writers. Since its founding in 1970, Poets & Writers’ mission has been to
foster the professional development of poets and writers, to promote
communication throughout the U.S.
literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can
be appreciated by the widest possible public. Poets & Writers accomplishes this by
publishing Poets & Writers Magazine,
producing Poets & Writers Online, offering publishing advice to writers,
introducing emerging writers outside of New York City
to the New York City
literary community, and providing direct financial support to writers
participating in public literary events.
(Top: Sandra Beasley, photo by Andrew Lightman, Bottom: Willett Thomas, photo by Moshe B. Zusman)
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