UMass Press and the MFA for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are excited to announce the 2023 winners of the Juniper Literary Prizes. All of these works will be published in the spring of 2024.
2023 Juniper Prize Winners
Michelle Ephraim has been awarded the Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction for Green World. She is professor of English at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she teaches courses on literature and creative nonfiction writing. Ephraim is the coauthor of Shakespeare, Not Stirred: Cocktails for Your Everyday Dramas, and her essays and humor pieces have appeared in a range of venues, including McSweeney’s, Cleaver, The Washington Post, Tikkun, Lilith, and The Moth Radio Hour.
Linda N. Masi has been selected as the winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction for her debut novel, Fine Dreams. Her work has appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, BlackBerry: A Magazine, and elsewhere, and she is also the author of a book of poetry and a children’s book series. Originally from Nigeria, Masi holds an MFA from the University of Mississippi and is currently completing a PhD in creative writing at Texas Tech.
Saara Myrene Raappana’s Chamber After Chamber has been awarded the Juniper Prize for Poetry: First Book. Her work has been supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. The author of the chapbooks Milk Tooth, Levee, Fever and A Story of America Goes Walking, Raappana’s poems have appeared widely in journals and anthologies. Born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern China before moving to Southwest Minnesota.
Terese Svoboda’s short story collection, The Long Swim, has been chosen as the winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction. The author of twenty-one books of prose, poetry, translation, memoir, and biography, Svoboda has received fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She was the winner of the Bobst Award in fiction, the Iowa Prize for Poetry, the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, the O. Henry Award for the short story, and a Pushcart Prize for the essay, among other honors.
Jennifer Tseng has been selected as the winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry for her collection, Not so dear Jenny. Her first book, The Man with My Face, won the 2005 Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s National Poetry Manuscript Competition and the 2006 PEN America Open Book Award; her second book, Red Flower, White Flower, was the recipient of the 2012 Marick Press Prize. Tseng’s work has been featured on Paris Review Daily, Poem-a-Day, POETRY magazine, and elsewhere, and has been translated into Chinese, Danish, and Italian. She teaches literature and creative writing at University of California, Santa Cruz.
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 this year’s judges, Emily Hunt, Robin McLean, and Jeff Parker.