Juniper Prize

2015 Juniper Prize Winners

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The University of Massachusetts Press, in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers, is pleased to announce this year’s Juniper Prize winners. For detailed information, view this press release.

Hasanthika Sirisena is the winner of the 2015 Juniper Prize for Fiction with her short story collection The Other One, to be published by UMass Press in 2016. Her stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Epoch, Story Quarterly, Narrative, and other magazines. Her work has been anthologized in Best New American Voices and Best American Short Stories (2011, 2012). Sirisena has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and, in 2008, received a Rona Jaffe Writers Award. She is currently an associate fiction editor for West Branch literary magazine and teaches creative writing at the City College of New York.

Mark Wagenaar is winner of the 2015 Juniper Prize for Poetry with his collection The Body Distances (A Hundred Blackbirds Rising), to be published by UMass Press in 2016. He is also the 2014 winner of the Pinch Poetry Award, the New Letters Poetry Prize, and the Mary C. Mohr Poetry Prize, as well as the 2013 winner of the James Wright Poetry Prize, the Poetry International Prize, and the Yellowwood Poetry Prize. Wagenaar recently served as the University of Mississippi’s 2014 Summer Poet in Residence. His debut manuscript, Voodoo Inverso, was the 2012 winner of the Felix Pollak Prize from the University of Wisconsin Press. His poems have been accepted or published by the New Yorker, 32 Poems, Field, Image, Subtropics, Ninth Letter, Washington Square, Shenandoah, and the Missouri Review. He and his wife, the poet Chelsea Wagenaar, are doctoral fellows at the University of North Texas in Denton, and are expecting their first child, Eloise Virginia, in July.

We wish to express our thanks to all of the writers who participated in this year’s Juniper Prize competition. 

 

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New Books: March 2015

This month, UMass Press is pleased to release the publications of the 2014 winners of the Juniper Prize for Poetry and the Juniper Prize for Fiction:

9781625341488Violin Playing Herself in a Mirror by David Kutz-Marks: With rhetorical estrangements that recall John Ashberry, and rhythms and ambitions that recall Wallace Stevens and Walt Whitman, the voice in these poems is nonetheless distinct, aware that its own time is finite – “a minor catarrh/after which the throat clears and it’s nighttime again” – but striving with each movement for the sublime. The poems challenge our identities, our thoughts, and our quarrels with each other as they dart back and forth between interior spaces and real human relationships.

“We tend to turn to poetry –as poetry itself turns – to honor, investigate, propose, court, grieve, and speculate, and all these things happen with purpose in Violin Playing Herself in a Mirror. With this book Kutz-Marks amplifies what might have been and what might be.” – Dara Wier, author of Hat on a Pond

For more information on this title, click here.

9781625341372Desert sonorous by Sean Bernard: Undercover space aliens share an RV outside Tucson. A high school girl tries to make sense of the shooting of Gabby Giffords. Basketball fans stalk their team’s head coach. A young couple falls in and out of love over the course of several lifetimes. And teenage cross-country athletes run on and on through these ten stories set amid the strange desert landscapes of the American southwest. Desert sonorous is a unique and energetic debut collection, blending realism with flashes of experimentation. Contemporary issues – immigration, drought, shootings – hover above a cast of memorable characters in search of life’s deeper meanings. As they struggle along, comic and resigned, intelligent and quiet, sad and frustrated, their strivings resound because their lives are in so many ways our own.

“This collection works by stealth, like alien lights sweeping over a desert plain. Should we celebrate Bernard as our newest bard of the desert? Yes, as surely as America is on a remote 24/7 hum, throbbing alongside its desert highways.” – Edie Meidav, Juniper Prize for Fiction judge and author of Lola, California

For more information on this title, click here.

For more information about the Juniper Prize Program, please visit our website. The 2015 winners for the Juniper prizes will be announced next month.