The Kurt Brown Prizes

Submissions for the Kurt Brown Prizes are now open!
Apply via Submittable by April 15, 2022.

AWP will offer three scholarships of $500 each to be awarded to three first-place winners in the genres of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. These scholarships must be used to attend a writers’ conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency at one of the AWP member programs in the Directory of Conferences & Centers. All winners and six finalists will also receive a one-year individual membership. Winning selections will be announced in June 2022.

In 1990, Kurt Brown founded WC&C, a coalition of writers’ conferences and festivals, to help these groups support one another and thrive. Kurt was a friend and mentor to many writers, as well as a poet, editor, memoirist, essayist, teacher, and administrator. Today, the group he founded is an important part of AWP; we hope you will take the time to visit our directory and explore them all. There is an excellent chance you will find one that meets in your local area that can help you connect with a community of writers and friends.

Our 2022 Kurt Brown Judges

Reyna Grande

Reyna Grande, Creative Nonfiction

Born in Mexico, Reyna Grande is the author of the bestselling memoirs The Distance Between Us and its sequel, A Dream Called Home, as well as the novels Across a Hundred Mountains, Dancing with Butterflies, and most recently, A Ballad of Love and Glory. She is also the coeditor of the forthcoming anthology, Somewhere W Are Human: Authentic Voices on Migration, Survival, and New Beginnings. Reyna has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and a Latino Spirit Award. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post’s The Lily, CNN, the Dallas Morning News, and more. In March 2020, she was a guest in Oprah's Book Club.

Soniah Kamal

Soniah Kamal, Fiction

Soniah Kamal’s novel Unmarriageable is a Financial Times Reader’s Best Book and a reading pick for People magazine, NPR Code Switch, New York Public Library and Library Reads and received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Shelf Awareness, and more. Soniah’s Pushcart-nominated and prize shortlisted publications are in the New York Times, Catapult, the Georgia Review, Lithub, The Normal School, the Missing Slate, Chicago Review, the Bitter Southerner, and more. Soniah’s short story “Fossils” won the Agnes Scott 2017 Festival Award for Fiction judged by Claudia Rankine, and her story “Jelly Beans” appears in The Best Asian Stories Series 2017. Soniah’s TEDx talk is about second chances and her US citizenship oath ceremony address, “We Are The Ink,” is about the real American Dream. Soniah has taught creative writing at Emory University, Oglethorpe University, and Reinhardt University. She has an MFA from Georgia State University, where she was a Paul Bowles Fiction Fellow and served as an assistant fiction editor for Five Points Journal. Soniah is a multiple time AWP Fiction mentor.

Marlena Chertock

Marlena Chertock, Poetry

Marlena Chertock has two books of poetry, Crumb-sized: Poems (Unnamed Press) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press). She is queer and disabled and uses her skeletal dysplasia as a bridge to scientific poetry. Marlena serves as cochair of OutWrite, Washington, DC's annual LGBTQ literary festival, and on the board of Split This Rock, a nonprofit that cultivates poetry that provokes social change. Her poetry and prose have appeared in AWP’s Writer’s Notebook, Breath & Shadow, the Deaf Poets Society, Lambda Literary Review, Little Patuxent Review, Noble/Gas Quarterly, Paper Darts, Paranoid Tree, Plants & Poetry, Washington Independent Review of Books, WMN zine, Wordgathering, and more. Find her at and @mchertock.

Previous Award Recipients

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List of Winners

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