New Letters Literary Award Winners

New Letters is pleased to announce the winners of the New Letters Literary Awards. Winners
received a cash prize of $2,500 and will be published in the spring 2021 issue of New Letters.

Patricia Cleary Miller Award for Poetry
Winner: Mark Wagenaar, “Late Song: Time”
Final Judge: Brian Teare

First Runner-Up: L.A. Johnson, “To Arrive in the Blue Country”

Mark Wagenaar is the author of three prize-winning books of poetry, most recently Southern Tongues Leave Us Shining, from Red Hen Press. His fiction and poems appear widely, including The New Yorker, Gulf Coast, 32 Poems, Tin House, The Southern Review, and The Cincinnati Review, and have been awarded a variety of prizes. A father of two, and husband to poet Chelsea Wagenaar, he is  an assistant professor at Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction
Winner: Rebecca Young, “Joan” 
Judge: Heather Sellers

Honorable Mention: Anna Leahy, “Oridinary Pandemonium: A Story of Noise” 
Honorable Mention: Rachel Keranen, “Fieldwork”

Rebecca Young lives in Leadville, Colorado, where she must constantly choose between playing outdoors and staying obediently at her writing desk. This choice is one of her daily struggles, but she nevertheless recognizes what a privilege it is to have the choice at all. Her work explores the intersections of wildness and human experience, and strives to stoke wonder and the spirit of adventure in her readers. On days when her writing desk loses, you can find her climbing, hiking, skiing, canyoneering, or mountaineering. Her work has appeared in Alpinist Magazine, Pithead Chapel, Maine Review, and many others. To learn more about Rebecca’s work, visit 

Robert Day Award for Fiction
Winner: Jacob R. Weber, “Lobu Hoteru”
Judge: Alexia Arthurs

First Runner-Up: Lindsay Starck, “Fata Morgana”
Honorable Mention: Dana Wilson, “In Yerevan”
Honorable Mention: Mark George, “Millie, My Dear”

Jacob R. Weber is a Korean translator living in Maryland. He has been published in The Baltimore Review, The Chattahoochee Review, The Potomac Review, and other journals. His book of short stories, Don’t Wait to Be Called, won the 2017 Washington Writers’ Publishing House Award for Fiction. He blogs about fiction and whether it’s good for you at

2020 New Letters Literary Award Finalists
Patrica Cleary Miller Award for Poetry 

Kate Wisel, John Blair, Michelle Morouse, Molly Bashaw, Bridget Bell, Brandel France de Bravo, L.A. Johnson
Mario René Padilla, Gunilla Norris, Kelleen Zubick, Karen Kovacik, Felicity Sheehy, Jed Myers

Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction

Sarah Stuteville, Kathy Davis, Melissa Bowers, Joni Whitworth, Chad Davidson, Zachary Gerberick, Susan Sheppard, 
Wendy Wallace, Sean Pagaduan, Vivian Montgomery, Rachel Toliver, Penny Dahl, Eliya Smith, Anna Leahy, Rachel. Kernanen

Robert Day Award for Fiction

Stefani Nellen, Leslie Blanco, Martha Brenckle, A. Goldsmith, Alice Hatcher, Theodore Wheeler, Sruthi Narayanan, 
Laura Demers, Michael Pearce, Connie Corzilius, Michael McEwen