Hawaii Selected for 2016 Writers Exchange Award

New York, NY – July 31, 2015 – Poets & Writers, the nation's largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers, invites writers who live in Hawaii to apply for the 2016 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award.

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

"The Writers Exchange Award is important because it will give two lucky writers of Hawaii national exposure and the chance to experience the literary world beyond our shores," said Craig Santos Perez, an assistant professor of Pacific literature and creative writing at the University of Hawaii in Manoa and a winner of the 2010 California Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers. "Hawaii is home to a vibrant and diverse literary community," noted Perez, who also recently won the American Book Award. "However, the distance from the major centers of literary publishing in the continental United States, compounded with expensive travel costs, makes writers here feel isolated." 

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 Secret Life of Bees), Elaine Beale (Another Life Altogether), Sandra Beasley (Don't Kill the Birthday Girl), David Mura (Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei), Fae Myenne Ng (Bone), Mona Simpson (My Hollywood), and others. Since Poets & Writers launched the Writers Exchange in 1984, eighty-nine writers from thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have been selected to participate. The award is generously supported by Maureen Egen, a member of the Poets & Writers Board of Directors and retired deputy chairman and publisher of Hachette Book Group USA. 

The judges for 2016 are Alexander Chee for fiction and Sarah Gambito for poetry. 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 Hawaii (currently and for at least the past two years), and must have published no more than one full-length book in the genre in which they are applying.

Download the guidelines and application form here. Entries must be postmarked by January 15, 2016.    

About the 2016 Judges

Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh (Welcome Pain Publishers, 2001) and The Queen of the Night, forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He is a recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and a NEA fellowship, and his stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the New Republic, Tin House, Guernica, and Slate, among others. He has taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the University of Texas in Austin, Columbia University, and Princeton University.

Sarah Gambito is the author of the poetry collections Delivered (Persea Books, 2009) and Matadora (Alice James Books, 2004). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Iowa Review, the Antioch Review, Denver Quarterly, the New Republic, Field, Quarterly West, Fence, and other journals. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the Literary Arts Program at Brown University. Her honors include the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers and grants and fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Urban Artists Initiative and the MacDowell Colony. She is an associate professor of English and the director of creative writing at Fordham University, and cofounder of Kundiman, a nonprofit organization serving Asian American writers.

About Poets & Writers

Founded in 1970, Poets & Writers' 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. Learn more at pw.org.