AWP Small Press Publisher Award

AWP’s Small Press Publisher Award is an annual prize for nonprofit presses and literary journals that recognizes the important role such organizations play in publishing creative works and introducing new authors to the reading public. The award acknowledges the hard work, creativity, and innovation of these presses and journals, and honors their contributions to the literary landscape through their publication of consistently excellent work.

The award includes a $2,000 honorarium and a complimentary exhibit booth, including two complimentary conference registrations, at the AWP Conference & Bookfair in the year following the recipient’s recognition. In even years, the award is given to a journal, and, in odd years, to a press.

Congratulations to Milkweed Editions, winner of the 2021 AWP Small Press Publisher Award!

Milkweed Editions

Founded in Minneapolis in 1980, Milkweed Editions is one of the nation’s leading independent publishers of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Operating as a nonprofit organization empowers Milkweed to acquire titles on the basis of artistic excellence and transformative potential and to invest significant resources in developing writers’ work and bringing it to a wide audience—engaging local, national, and international communities in the kind of conversation facilitated uniquely by literature.

Finalists for the 2021 AWP Small Press Publisher Award

Birmingham Poetry Review

Dzanc Books, a nonprofit independent press, was created in 2006 to publish innovative and award-winning writing and to serve the literary community. In addition to publishing, the press also runs the Dzanc Writers-in-Residence Program, which places published authors in public schools to teach creative writing to elementary and secondary students; supports the Disquiet International Literary Program, an annual writing program held in Lisbon, Portugal; and offers low-cost one-on-one mentorships for aspiring writers. For more information, visit

Birmingham Poetry Review

Housed at Wilkes University and partnering with Youngstown State University, Etruscan is a nonprofit national literary press working to produce and promote books that nurture the dialogue among genres, cultures, and voices. Etruscan publishes books of poems, novels, short stories, creative nonfiction, criticism, translation, and anthologies. Literary awards received by Etruscan authors include three NBA finalists and one longlist, the Theodore Roethke Poetry Prize, Poetry Society of America’s First Book Award, Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award, PEN’s Josephine Miles Award, and Mass Book Award.

Noemi Press

Noemi Press is a 501(c)(3) based in Blacksburg, Virginia committed to publishing poetry, prose, theory, and translation by diverse emerging and established authors—particularly innovative writing with dynamic lyric voices—to create a national audience for writers who might otherwise be marginalized by mainstream presses. Noemi continues to promote and provide emerging writers with the support and guidance to publish the very best book through extensive editorial collaboration.

Jane Ciabattari, National Book Critics Circle
Chris Santiago, University of St. Thomas
Arisa White, Colby College


Letters of nomination are accepted each year between September 1 and October 15. All nominations should be in PDF format and submitted through AWP's Submittable portal. Postal submissions will not be considered.

To nominate a candidate for the AWP Small Press Publisher Award, please consult our award guidelines.

Should you need assistance with processing your nomination please feel free to contact Aubrey Kamppila, Conference Events Coordinator, by emailing

List of Winners

See a list of previous award winners and finalists.