First Impressions

Terrace Suite I, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 4
Saturday, March 11, 2023
12:10 pm to 1:25 pm


Seeing your fiction in print for the first time is a thrill. It could also be a stepping stone to future publications and wider recognition. The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers recognizes twelve emerging writers each year for their debut short story, and the winners are published by Catapult in an annual anthology. Hear from previous winners, judges, and editors about how a debut story can make an indelible impression.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: Event_Outline__First_Impressions_(3.11_.23)_.pdf



Donica Bettanin is the literary awards program director at PEN America. She has worked as an international rights manager, literary agent, and program manager in Australia, Indonesia, and the USA. A mentor with Girls Write Now, she is currently pursuing a master's in nonprofit management.

Yuka Igarashi is an executive editor at Graywolf Press. Before joining Graywolf in 2021, she was editor in chief of Soft Skull Press, founder and editor in chief of Catapult and the managing editor of Granta. She is coeditor of the annual Best Debut Short Stories anthology.

Crystal Hana Kim’s novel If You Leave Me was a best book of 2018 by the Washington Post, Literary Hub, and others. A 2017 PEN America/Dau Short Story Prize winner, she has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Jentel, and more. She is a contributing editor at Apogee Journal.

Deesha Philyaw is the author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, winner of the the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction.

Paul Reyes is the editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and author of Exiles in Eden: Life Among the Ruins of Florida’s Great Recession. His essays and reporting have appeared in VQR, Harper's, The Oxford American, the New York Times, Mother Jones, and Slate.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center