Announcing the 2018 Juniper Literary Prize winners for Poetry and Fiction


UMass Press and the MFA for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are delighted to announce the winners of the 2018 Juniper Literary Prizes in Poetry and Fiction.

This year, we have the added pleasure of launching the new Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction, which seeks fresh and innovative projects in memoir, essay, or biography. As with our prizes in poetry and fiction, the winning manuscript will be published by the University of Massachusetts Press and the author will receive a $1,000 award upon publication. This year’s contest runs from August 1—September 30 and guidelines for all of the Juniper Prizes are available at our website,

Juniper Prize for Poetry

Herve Comeau is the winner of the 2018 Juniper Prize for Poetry for his first book, Children of the Down-swing. A first generation immigrant from Haiti, a writer, activist, and lawyer, Comeau was a winner of the Leonard Brown Poetry Prize, a recipient of the Cornelia Carhart Ward fellowship, and a finalist for the Olive B O'Connor Fellowship. He is currently working as a public interest immigration attorney in Syracuse, New York, where he serves on the advisory board of the New York Civil Liberties Union, and is a founding member of Black Lives Matter Syracuse.

Kent Shaw is the winner of the 2018 Juniper Prize for Poetry for his collection Too Numerous. His first book, Calenture, was published by University of Tampa Press in 2008. Shaw’s poems have appeared in The Believer, Ploughshares, Boston Review, and Witness, among other outlets. He is an assistant professor of English at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

Juniper Prize for Fiction

Janice Margolis is the winner of the 2018 Juniper Prize for Fiction for her short story collection Termination Shocks. After receiving an MFA in film from California Institute of the Arts, she was an assistant professor of film at the University of Texas in Austin, and the artistic director and choreographer of a dance theatre company. The recipient of Massachusetts Artists Foundation and Irish Film Board grants, her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Dance Magazine, and The Boston Globe, and presented by Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum and Boston University.

Christina Milletti is the winner of the 2018 Juniper Prize for Fiction for her novel Choke Box: a Fem-Noir. Her fiction and articles have appeared in the Iowa Review, Best New American Voices, The Master's Review, Denver Quarterly, The Cincinnati Review, and The Brooklyn Rail, among other outlets. Her collection of short stories, The Religious & Other Fictions, was published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2006. She is an associate professor of English at the University at Buffalo where she curates the Exhibit X Fiction Series.  She is currently writing a novel about Cuba.


The Juniper Literary Prize 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 novels and short story collections and expanded our poetry and fiction prizes twofold in 2015 in order to mark the fortieth year of cooperation between the Press and the UMass Amherst MFA Program. In 2018 the series grew once again with the addition of the Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction.

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