New Letters Literary Award Winners

New Letters is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 New Letters Literary Awards. Winners
received a cash prize of $2,500 and will be published in the winter/spring 2024 issue of New Letters.

Thank you to our 2023 Literary Award judges.

Poetry Judge Cortney Lamar Charleston
Author Clancy Martin photographed by Barrett Emke at his home in Kansas City, Missouri.
Nonfiction Judge Clancy Martin
Fiction Judge Akil Kumarasmy

                                                           Photo Credits:  Clancy Martin photo by Barrett Emke; Akil Kumarasmy photo by Vidhya Manivannan                                                              

Patricia Cleary Miller Award for Poetry
Winner: S. Erin Batiste, “He Said/He Said”
Poetry Judge: Cortney Lamar Charleston

First Runner-Up: “Eastern Garter” by Mark Rubin

S. Erin Batiste is an interdisciplinary poet and artist. She is a 2022-2023 Emerge-Surface-Be Fellow with The Poetry Project and a 2022-2023 Recess Critical Writing Fellow. She has received fellowships and generous support from Cave Canem, PEN America, Tin House, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Rona Jaffe Foundation, and The Jerome Foundation, among other honors. Author of the chapbook, Glory to All Fleeting Things, her work has exhibited in New York and has appeared internationally in Interim, Michigan Quarterly Review, wildness, You Don’t Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves, and In the Tempered Dark: Contemporary Poets Transcending Elegy.

Cortney Lamar Charleston’s poems have appeared in a range of publications, including POETRY, The Nation, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review and Granta. A Pushcart Prize-winning poet, Charleston has received a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation as well as fellowships from Cave CanemThe Conversation Literary Festival and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His debut full-length poetry collection, Telepathologies, was selected by D.A. Powell for the 2016 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and released in March 2017. His second full-length collection, Doppelgangbanger, was released in February 2021 by Haymarket Books and named a best book of 2021 by the New York Public Library and the Boston Globe. He is a poet Essence magazine thinks you should know. He is the poetry editor of The Rumpus and serves on the Alice James Books editorial board.

Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction
Winner: Summer Hammond, “A Little Slice of the Moon”
Nonfiction Judge: Clancy Martin

Summer Hammond grew up in rural Iowa and the Ozarks of southwest Missouri, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She left the faith at age twenty-seven and went on to achieve her BA in Literature, teach ninth grade reading in Austin, Texas, and earn her MFA from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Hammond’s work appears or is forthcoming in Sonora Review, StoryQuarterly, and Moon City Review, among others. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, by the sea with her kindred spirit, Aly.

Clancy Martin is a writer and philosophy professor. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, The New Republic, New Letters, The New York Times, Lapham’s Quarterly, The Paris Review and many other places. His latest book How Not to Kill Yourself (Pantheon, 2023) is about his many failed suicide attempts. He is the father of five children, has taught at the University of Missouri-Kansas City  since 2003, and is married to the writer Amie Barrodale. 

Robert Day Award for Fiction
Winner: David Lerner Schwartz, “The Binding Thing”
Fiction Judge: Akil Kumarasmy

First Runner-Up: Steph Del Rosso, “Dada”

David Lerner Schwartz teaches writing and literature at the University of Cincinnati where is a doctoral candidate. His work has been published in Ecotone, Witness, New Ohio Review, The Rumpus, and more. He holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars.

Akil Kumarasamy is the author of the novel, Meet Us by the Roaring Sea (FSG, 2022), and the linked story collection, Half Gods, (FSG, 2018), which was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice, was awarded the Bard Fiction Prize and the Story Prize Spotlight Award, and was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Her work has appeared in Harper’s MagazineThe AtlanticAmerican Short FictionBOMB, among others. She has received fellowships from the University of East Anglia, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Yaddo, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She is an assistant professor in the Rutgers University-Newark MFA program.

2023 New Letters Literary Award Finalists
Patrica Cleary Miller Award for Poetry 

S. Erin Batiste, Zachariah Claypole White, Marissa Davis, Jenna Lanzaro, Sarah Matsui, Kami Enzie, Ashley Oakes,
Weijia Pan, leilani portillo, C. Rees, Zen Ren, Mark Rubin, Maya Salameh, Bret Shepard, Paul Ukrainets, Merlin Ural Rivera

Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction

Robin Babb, Tasia Bernie, Mark Brazaitis, Rachel Carpenter, Lena Crown, Charlie Divine, Anouck Dussaud,
Murgatroyd Monaghan, Mariana Graciano, Summer Hammond, Bridget Lyons, Jasmin Sandelson, Randolph Thomas

Robert Day Award for Fiction

Mark Abdon, Scott Balta, Hana Choi, Cathy Crane, April Darcy, Andrew De Silva, Steph Del Rosso, Blue Guldal,
J.K. Haman, Katherine Hansen, Brynne Jones, Hunter Liguore, Jen O’Connor, Mekiya Outini, David Lerner Schwartz