Safiya Sinclair To Judge Summer 2024 Creative Nonfiction Contest

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The Schooner is proud to announce that the 2024 Summer Creative Nonfiction Contest will be judged by a previous contributor to the journal, a Raz-Shumaker awarded author, as well as a winner of the Summer of 2015 Glenna Luschei Poetry award: Safiya Sinclair. Sinclair’s other honors include a Pushcart Prize, recognition on countless book lists, and fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and others. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Time Magazine, and many other journals and magazines. She is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Arizona State University. 

Sinclair’s first poetry book, Cannibal, won the 2015 Raz-Shumaker Award in Poetry. Colliding with and confronting The Tempest and postcolonial identity, the poems in Safiya Sinclair’s Cannibal explore Jamaican childhood and history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile. Ada Limón, author of Bright Dead Things, describes Cannibal as “a new muscular music that is as brutal as it is beautiful… the debut of a poet who is dangerously talented and desperately needed.”  

Sinclair’s second book, How to Say Babylon: A Memoir came out in 2023. It became an instant success, with honors from the National Book Critics Circle, the Kirkus Prize, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and many others. Additionally, How to Say Babylon was named one of the 100 Notable Books of the year by the New York Times, a Top 10 Book of 2023 by the Washington Post, one of The Atlantic’s 10 Best Books of 2023, a TIME Magazine Top 10 Nonfiction Book of 2023, and one of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2023. How to Say Babylon is a reflection on her Rastafarian upbringing, strained relationship with her father, and path to becoming her own woman. In the 2023 New Yorker article “Revisiting My Rastafari Childhood,” Sinclair gives readers a glimpse of the experiences detailed in her memoir with this excerpt: 

Shannon leaned down from her perch, her gaze fixed on my locks, and asked me if henna was part of my religion. I shook my head no. Then she asked if I could wear nail polish. The answer was no, it was always no. But she kept going, as if she were trying to reveal something clever about Rastafari to me. Why can’t you pierce your ears? Who made the rules? 

My father, I wanted to tell her. But how could I convey that every Rastaman was the godhead in his household, that every word my father spoke was gospel? 

To read more, purchase How to Say Babylon here

The Schooner looks forward to receiving your Creative Nonfiction Contest submissions. Essays of up to 5,000 words will be accepted from May 15th to August 1st. For more information, view our guidelines here.