AWP Announces Winners of the 2021 George Garrett and Small Press Publisher Awards
March 18, 2021
On March 3, the opening evening of the 2021 AWP Conference & Bookfair, AWP hosted a celebration of this year’s George Garrett Award and Small Press Publisher Award winners.
AWP Executive Director Cynthia Sherman announced Allison Adelle Hedge Coke as the winner of the 2021 George Garrett Award for outstanding community service in literature, which recognizes individuals who have made notable donations of care, time, labor, and money to support writers and their literary accomplishments. It includes a $2,000 honorarium and conference travel, accommodations, and registration.
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke is a poet, scholar, and community activist. She left school at 14 to become a field worker, and following her departure from manual labor due to disability, she returned to earn an AFAW from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Vermont College. She is a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at University of California, Riverside. Hedge Coke has mentored Native populations, at-risk youth, migrant workers, and disabled writers and has taught in juvenile justice facilities, domestic violence shelters, and prisons. In addition to her own numerous works, she has edited several anthologies, two of which include the work of K-12 students. She was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in 2021.
“I feel fortunate to have come from parents that instilled service as a given . . . set[ting] into place the unfolding of my life to be one of service for needs larger than my own,” said Hedge Coke before offering a poem of gratitude in acceptance of the George Garrett Award.
AWP Board Member Kris Bigalk announced the Minneapolis-based press Milkweed Editions as the winner of the 2021 Small Press Publisher Award, which honors nonprofit independent press contributions to the literary landscape through the publication of consistently excellent work. It includes a $2,000 honorarium and a complimentary exhibit booth and two accompanying conference registrations for the following year.
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.
“It is with a spirit of humility and commitment to what our author Robin Wall Kimmerer describes as ‘mutual flourishing’ that we accept this award,” said Daniel Slager, publisher and CEO of Milkweed Editions.
AWP offers its sincere appreciation of the contributions of these award winners and congratulates them on their many accomplishments.