The Juniper Literary Prizes

University of Massachusetts Press and the Juniper Literary Prizes

Celebrating 40 years of the Juniper Prize

Dedicated to bringing distinct, fresh voices to a wide audience, the University of Massachusetts Press—in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers—awards yearly the Juniper Prize for Poetry and the Juniper Prize for Fiction.

The Juniper Literary Prizes confer two prizes each for poetry and for fiction. For poetry, one prize recognizes a first publication. The second is open to previously published poets as well. For fiction, one prize recognizes a short story collection, the second prize may be a novel or short story collection. Each of the four recipients will be awarded $1,000 and publication.

The Juniper Prize 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 literary fiction.

Our prize-winning poets include Lucille Clifton, Lynda Hull, Richard Jackson, and Arthur Vogelsang. Our prize-winning fiction writers include Rod Val Moore, Andrew Malan Milward, Dwight Yates, and Lynn Lurie. Please click for the full Juniper Prize for Poetry series, and for the full Juniper Prize for Fiction series.

The Juniper Literary Prizes are open for submissions annually from August 1 through September 30. All submissions are judged anonymously by a panel of distinguished poets. For more information and submission guidelines for poetry click here and for fiction, click here.

The sky is on fire with blue
And wind keeps ringing, ringing the fire bell.
—from “Cold” by Robert Francis

Announcing the winners of the 2016 Juniper Prizes for Fiction and Poetry

Amherst, MA – April 1, 2016–In celebration of our forty-year commitment to contemporary letters, the University of Massachusetts Press in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers announce the winners of the 2016 Juniper Prizes in poetry and in fiction.

For first publication in poetry: Elizabeth Metzger, The Spirit Papers. Elizabeth is poetry editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal.

For poetry: Nancy Takacs, The Worrier. Nancy is the author of two books of poetry. For the past decade, she has worked with inmates, seniors, and children for the Utah Arts Council’s Artist in Education program.

For the story prize: David Ebenbach, The Guy We Didn’t Invite to the Orgy. David teaches creative writing at Georgetown University and is the author of two story collections, two poetry collections, and a guide to the creative process.

For the novel prize: Joan Frank, All the News I Need. Joan is the author of five books of fiction and a book of collected essays.

Finalists and Runners Up

Runner up for first publication in poetry

Kara Krewer, Animals in Silent Movies

Finalist for poetry

Randall Watson, The Geometry of Wishes

Runner up for novel

Rebecca Berg, The Brick Thieves

Runner up for story

Michelle Ross, There’s So Much They Haven’t Told You

The Juniper Literary Prizes are dedicated to bringing distinct, fresh voices to a wide audience. Congratulations to our winners this year and to the long line of poets and writers who have been recognized by the Juniper Literary Prizes in years past. For more extensive biographies of our winners, click here.

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