Announcing the 2019 Juniper Literary Prize Winners


UMass Press and the MFA for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are excited to announce the 2019 winners of the Juniper Literary Prizes in Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction. This year, we have the distinct pleasure of announcing the winner of the inaugural Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction.


Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction

Elizabeth Kadetsky is the first ever winner of the Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction for her essay collection, The Memory Eaters. She is author of the memoir, First There Is a Mountain (Little Brown, 2004); the short story collection, The Poison that Purifies You (C&R Press, 2014); and the novella, On the Island at the Center of the Center of the World (2015). She lives in New York City’s East Village and in State College, Pennsylvania, and her works in fiction, memoir, personal and lyric essay, and long form narrative journalism have been published widely.

Juniper Prize for Poetry

Christina Pugh is the winner of the 2019 Juniper Prize for Poetry for her collection Stardust Media. She is the author of four books of poems, including Perception (Four Way Books), which was named one of the top poetry books of 2017 by Chicago Review of Books, and Grains of the Voice (Northwestern University Press, 2013).  Her work has appeared in such outlets as The Atlantic, Poetry, Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, and she has been awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in poetry. She is professor of English in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and consulting editor for Poetry.

Susan Leslie Moore’s That Place Where You Opened Your Hands is the recipient of the 2019 Juniper Prize for Poetry: First Book. Her work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Willow Springs, New York Quarterly, Quick Fiction, and elsewhere. She edited the online poetry magazine Caffeine Destiny for 13 years, and was co-editor of the anthology Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest, published by Ooligan Press. She earned a Masters in Writing from Portland State University and is the director of programs for writers at Literary Arts in Portland, Oregon.

Juniper Prize for Fiction

Sarah Harris Wallman is the recipient of the 2019 Juniper Prize for Fiction for her short story collection, Senseless Women. She teaches at Albertus Magnus College, where she is co-director of the MFA program in writing. Her stories have won awards from Prada and The Tucson Festival of Books and been published in venues like Hobart and The Masters Review.  She grew up in Nashville, then studied writing at the University of Virginia and the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her MFA. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut with her two children.

Wayne Karlin’s novel A Wolf by the Ears is the winner of the 2019 Juniper Prize for Fiction. He is the author of seven novels, including Lost Armies, The Extras, and Us (all with Henry Holt & Company), Crossover (Harcourt), and Marble Mountain, The Wished-For Country, and Prisoners (Curbstone Press). The recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Patterson Prize in Fiction, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Excellence in the Arts Award, he makes his home in Saint Mary’s County, Maryland.


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, which publishes fresh and innovative projects in memoir, essay, or biography.

The winners of the prizes will be published by the University of Massachusetts Press and each 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,

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