Prairie Schooner Awards $8,500 to 2015 Writing Prize Winners

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Thanks to generous supporters of the literary arts, Prairie Schooner was able to award eighteen writing prizes totaling $8,500 for work published by established and emerging writers in 2015.

Laura Van Prooyen

Laura Van Prooyen of San Antonio received the $1,500 Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award for her five poems published in the Fall 2015 issue. Her collection of poetry Our House Was on Fire received the Robert McGovern Memorial Prize and was published by Ashland Poetry Press in 2015. The Glenna Luschei Award is made possible by the generosity of poet, publisher, and philanthropist Glenna Luschei.

The $1,000 Lawrence Foundation Award for the best short story published in Prairie Schooner in 2015 was given to Ezra Olson of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, for his story “Marco Polo” from the Fall 2015 issue. This prize is made possible by the Lawrence Foundation of New York City and its director, Leonard S. Bernstein.

Lawrence Lenhart

The $1,000 Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing was given to Lawrence Lenhart of Flagstaff, Arizona and his essay “The Well-Stocked and Gilded Cage: Psittaculture Nervosa” from the Summer 2015 issue. His collection of essays will be published by Outpost19 in August. The Faulkner Award is supported by charitable contributions to honor Virginia Faulkner, former editor-in-chief of the University of Nebraska Press and Prairie Schooner fiction editor.

Charif Shanahan

The $1,000 Edward Stanley Award for poetry was given to Charif Shanahan for four poems in the Summer 2015 issue. His poetry collection Into Each Room We Enter Without Knowing will be published by Southern Illinois University Press in spring 2017. This award is made possible through charitable contributions from the family of Edward Stanley, a member of the committee that founded Prairie Schooner in 1926.

Dima Alzayat

The $500 Bernice Slote Award for the best work by a beginning writer was given to Dima Alzayat for the story “In the Land of Kan’an” from the Fall 2015 issue. She is a freelance journalist whose articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Flaunt, and the Skinny. The Slote Award is supported by the estate of Bernice Slote, Prairie Schooner editor from 1963 through 1980.

Aracelis Girmay

The $500 Annual Prairie Schooner Strousse Award for the best poem or group of poems was given to Aracelis Girmay of New York for four poems in the Fall 2015 issue. Her previous work includes the collage-based picture book changing, changing and poetry collections Teeth and Kingdom Animalia. The Strousse Award is given in honor of Flora Strousse.

The $250 Hugh J. Luke Award was given to Natalie Diaz for her essay “A Body of Athletics” in the special Winter 2015 sports issue, of which Diaz was guest editor. She currently spends time in Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she works to revitalize the Mojave language. The Hugh J. Luke Award was established in memory of Prairie Schooner’s editor from 1980 through 1987.

The $250 Jane Geske Award was given to Sarah Cornwell of Los Angeles for her story “Mr. Legs” from the Spring 2015 issue. Her debut novel, What I Had Before I Had You was published in 2014, and her stories have appeared in the 2013 Pushcart Prize anthology and Missouri Review, among others. The award is given by Norman Geske in honor of his wife, Jane Geske, a lifelong support of Nebraska’s literary arts.

Ten writers received annual Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Awards for $250 each. These awards are made possible through the generosity of Glenna Luschei.

Martha Collins, of Cambridge, MA, for her five poems in the summer issue.
Tyree Daye, of Raleigh, NC, for three poems in the fall issue.
Emily Geminder, of Kansas City, MO, for her essay “Coming To: A Lexicology of Fainting” in the summer issue.
Gregory Pardlo, of Brooklyn, NY, for his essay “Cartography” in the fall issue.
Adrienne Celt, of Tucson, AZ, for the story “The Girls They Burned” in the summer issue.
Matthew Dickman, of Portland, OR, for his poem “Can We Have Our Ball Back” in the winter issue.
Eileen Myles, of Brooklyn, NY, for the poem “Joseph Father of Wales” in the winter issue.
Sujata Shekar, of New York, NY, for the story “Throw Away Nothing” in the fall issue.
Aurvi Sharma, of New York, NY, for the essay “Eleven Stories of Water and Stone” in the spring issue.
Safiya Sinclair, of Los Angeles, CA, for four poems in the summer issue.

Prairie Schooner is published with support from the University of Nebraska Press, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln English Department and its creative writing program, and the Glenna Luschei Endowed Editorship and Fund for Excellence at Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska Foundation. Subscriptions may be ordered by visiting You can also follow Prairie Schooner on Twitter and Facebook.