The Juniper Literary Prize Series

University of Massachusetts Press Announces the Juniper Literary Series

Celebrating 40 years of the Juniper Prize

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—announces an expanded Juniper Prize initiative dedicated to bringing distinct, fresh voices to a wide audience.

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

The Juniper Literary Series 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.

The Juniper Literary Series is open for submissions annually from August 1 through September 30. Poetry winners are selected by James Haug, James Tate, and Dara Wier.  Fiction submissions are juried by alternating UMass Amherst MFA professors.

The prizes will open for submissions August 1 to September 30, 2015. Please click for poetry guidelines. Please click for fiction guidelines

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 2015 Juniper Prizes for Fiction and Poetry

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.

Juniper Prize for Fiction

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, StoryQuarterly, 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.

Juniper Prize for Poetry

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.