Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"And the Winner is...": The 2014 Madeleine P. Plonsker Award Winner Revealed!

The Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize, now in its sixth year, honors an author under forty years old with no major book publication.  The winner receives ten thousand dollars, publication of his or her manuscript by Lake Forest College Press (with national distribution via Northwestern University Press), a spot in the Lake Forest Literary Festival, nd a two-month residency at the Glen Rowan House, with the time to be spent revising the manuscript.  The prize alternates each year between fiction and poetry.  It's a great thing, and I'm glad to have been a part of it since the beginning.

This year's winner, Matthew Nye, was selected by guest judge Anne-Laure Tissut, Professor of American Literature at Rouen University, France (some of you may know her as one of the organizers of the 2012 &NOW Festival in Paris).

Matthew Nye's manuscript, Pike and Bloom, is a work of fiction of which Tissut writes "[it] leads the reader into a refreshingly comic immersion in major metaphysical and existential questions."  Nye is a graduate of Dartmouth and the University of Utah, and currently lives in that wondrous little outpost of civilization that is Athens, Georgia, where he is pursuing his doctorate.

2013-14 Plonsker Prize winner Matthew Nye

The Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writer’s Residency Prize is made possible by a donation from a local philanthropist who was impressed by the College’s recently established publishing enterprise, Lake Forest College Press / &NOW Books. The previous winners are:
  • Jessica Savitz for Hunting Is Painting (poetry);
  • Gretchen E. Henderson for Galerie de Difformité (fiction);
  • Jose Perez Beduya for Throng (poetry);
  • Elizabeth Gentry for Housebound (fiction, forthcoming in November);
  • Cecilia K. Corrigan for Titanic (poetry, forthcoming in Fall 2014).

The 2014-2015 Plonsker Prize will be awarded to a poet under forty years of age who has not yet published a full-length book. Poets interested in applying should submit a curriculum vita, a 30-page excerpt from a manuscript in progress, and a one-page statement of plans for completion to &NOW Books / Lake Forest College press via

The submission period is January 1 through March 1, 2013; no more than 200 submissions total will be considered. There is no entry fee.


  1. As a writer, I'm interested in the 200-submissions limit. First come, first serve? That seems more honest than contests that can't possibly seriously consider all that they accept (and accept money from).

    1. It does come down to a kind of human reading limit. Several of us in the department pitch in to read the manuscripts (with the bulk of the work falling to my colleague Josh Corey, who administers the prize), then a short list is sent to an external judge for consideration. Even with the limit of 200 entries, that's still 6000 pages to read carefully, and no one gets any time off from other duties, or any monetary compensation, to do it. If we were one of those fee charging contests, there'd be incentive to take in more entries than we could really pay attention to (which is not to say that happens with all fee-taking contests), but we're in the fortunate position, so far, of not having had to go that route.

  2. I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.