UMass Press and the MFA for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are excited to announce the 2022 winners of the Juniper Literary Prizes. All of these works will be published in the spring of 2023.
2022 Juniper Prize Winners
Jesse Kohn has been awarded the Juniper Prize for Fiction for his debut novel, the book of webs. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Brown University and is currently a PhD student at the University of Utah, where he teaches writing and is a prose editor for Quarterly West. Kohn’s work has appeared in Conjunctions, Sleepingfish, Bomb, The Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere. He lives in Salt Lake City with his dog, Roy.
Laura Read has been selected as the winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry for her collection, But She Is Also Jane. She is the author of Dresses from the Old Country (BOA, 2018), Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), and The Chewbacca on Hollywood Boulevard Reminds Me of You (Floating Bridge Press, 2011). Read served as poet laureate for Spokane, Washington from 2015‒2017 and teaches at Spokane Falls Community College.
Austen Leah Rose’s Once, This Forest Belonged to a Storm, has been awarded the Juniper Prize for Poetry: First Book. Her poetry has appeared in AGNI, The Iowa Review, Narrative, Zyzzyva, and The Southern Review, among other outlets. The recipient of the 2018 Walter Sullivan Award from The Sewanee Review, Rose holds an MFA from Columbia University and is completing a PhD in creative writing and literature at the University of Southern California, where she was the recipient of the 2020 MaddocksBrown Award for Contemporary Poetry. She lives in Los Angeles.
Glenn Taylor’s The Songs of Betty Baach has been chosen as the winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction. His most recent novel is A Hanging at Cinder Bottom (Tin House, 2015), and his first book, The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart (Ecco, 2009) was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award. Taylor’s work has appeared in such venues as the Oxford American, The Guardian, Gulf Coast, and Huizache. Born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia, he now resides in Morgantown, where he teaches in the MFA Program at West Virginia University.
S.L. Wisenberg has been selected as the winner of the Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction for her essay collection, The Wandering Womb. She is the editor of Another Chicago Magazine and the author of the fiction collection, The Sweetheart Is In, and two nonfiction books, Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other Obsessions, and The Adventures of Cancer Bitch. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Holocaust Education Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council, Wisenberg works as a writing coach and editor and teaches at the University of Chicago Graham School.
The Juniper Literary Prize Series takes its name from Fort Juniper, the house that the poet Robert Francis (1901–1987) built by hand in the woods in western Massachusetts. When UMass Press launched the Juniper Prize for Poetry in 1975, we were one of the first university presses to publish contemporary poetry. We introduced the Juniper Prize for Fiction in 2004 to honor outstanding novels and short story collections and expanded our poetry and fiction prizes twofold in 2015 in order to mark the fortieth year of cooperation between the Press and the UMass Amherst MFA Program. In 2019, the first Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction was awarded.
The winners of the prizes are published by the University of Massachusetts Press and each author receives a $1,000 award upon publication. This year’s contest runs from August 1—September 30 and guidelines for all of the Juniper Prizes are available at our website umasspress.com/juniper-prizes.
We would like to extend our gratitude to our judges Edie Meidav, David Toomey, and Ellen Doré Watson.