Debut Poet, Seasoned Fiction Writer Win 2019 BkMk Press Book Prizes

Winners include Dara Yen Elerath of New Mexico, Scott Nadelson of Oregon

BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City announced the 2019 winners of its book prizes for poetry and short fiction.

Dara Yen Elerath of Albuquerque, New Mexico, won the 20th John Ciardi Prize for Poetry for her manuscript The Dark Braid. Finalists included Brad Buchanan, Fay Dillof, Peter Krumbach, Emily Schulten, Emily Tuszynska, Roy White and Helen Wickes.

“What makes these poems so engaging is the way the poet constructs them from contradictory elements. The works feel both personal and mythic,” said prize judge Doug Ramspeck.

Scott Nadelson of Salem, Oregon, won the 18th G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction for his manuscript One of Us. Finalists included Corie Adjmi, Naira Kuzmich and Amy Foster Myer.

“These stories challenge the ways we identify in terms of nation, race, class and religion; and ask readers to consider who really belongs,” said prize judge Amina Gautier.

Each author will receive $1,000 plus book publication in fall 2020 by BkMk Press. The John Ciardi Prize for Poetry was founded in 1998 to honor the legacy of Ciardi, who taught for a time at UMKC and was a poet, translator and editor at The Saturday Reviewand a commentator on NPR. BkMk Press founded the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction in 2001 in memory of Chandra, who was an author and professor of English at UMKC. Previous winners of BkMk’s annual writing contests have gone on to receive wide literary acclaim. A full list of past recipients, as well as information on submitting to the 2020 contests, can be found online.

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