Winners of the 2019 AWP Award Series

The AWP Award Series for Creative Nonfiction

Megan Harlan

Winner: Megan Harlane
Mobile Home, The University of Georgia Press

Debra Monroe, Judge: "“Wise, stoic and yet wistful, Mobile Home sidles up to a family story so moving that a traditional memoir would feature it as a harrowing predicament to be overcome. Instead, this book contextualizes sorrow, death, and discontinuity, reminding us that—in terms of human experience—sorrow, death, and discontinuity aren’t rare, that we don’t overcome them as much as incorporate them into a self in which every memory becomes a familiar room or passage, a self that, no matter where we go, is home. Narrated in a deceptively tranquil voice, this book moves deftly through many locales, through architectural history, through poignant family history, fusing research with experience as it ponders a single question: what it means to be rooted while rootless. Individual essays shift between only apparently incongruous ideas and experiences, the links between them creating new meaning, and together the essays build a coherent, climactic book.”

Megan Harlan's essays have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, Colorado Review, Hotel Amerika, Alaska Quarterly Review, Arts & Letters, and Cincinnati Review, and have been awarded the Arts & Letters Prize for Creative Nonfiction (2018) and cited as distinguished in Best American Essays 2018. Her first book, Mapmaking (BkMk Press/New Letters), won the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry. She holds a master’s degree from New York University’s Creative Writing Program and works as a writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Finalist: Anne Panning, Walking Backwards

The Donald Hall Prize for Poetry

Joy Priest

Winner: Joy Priest
Horsepower, University of Pittsburgh Press

Joy Priest’s poems and essays appear in numerous publications. Priest is the winner of the 2019 Gearhart Poetry Prize from The Southeast Review; the 2019 Nikki Giovanni Scholar at the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop; the 2018 Gregory Pardlo Scholar at the Frost Place; the winner of the 2016 College Writers’ Award from the Hurston/Wright Foundation; and the recipient of a 2015 Emerging Artist Award from the Kentucky Arts Council. Additionally, she has received support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the University of South Carolina, where she received her MFA in poetry with a certificate in women & gender studies and served as senior editor for Yemassee Journal. She is a 2019-2020 Fine Arts Work Center Fellow in poetry. 


Other genre winners to be announced soon.

List of Winners

See a list of previous AWP Award Series winners.