Skip to main content


Announcing the winners of the 2023 Wabash Prizes for Poetry and Fiction

The prize winners in each category will receive $1000 prizes, and runners-up will be awarded $250. The chosen works, along with select finalists, will be published in the forthcoming Volume 34 of Sycamore Review. We would like to thank this year's guest judges, Dur e Aziz Amna and Luther Hughes, for their selections and contributions to what will be, for the foreseeable future, the final issue of our beloved journal.


Winner: Heather Knox, "Equinox"

"The movement of 'Equinox' is one that mimics grief. How do we reconcile with grief when it comes as a surprise? How do we collectively grieve alongside each other? In this poem, I am challenged to think of loss, emptiness, and grief as it relates to some sort of higher power. And not in the sense of religion or belief—faith—but in the sense of the power bodies hold and release. The 'people' in this poem wrestle with their own highest quality and 'names,' wondering if this is what they were made for—prayed for and prayed to. There’s an eeriness in the song-like nature of the poem, enacting a lullaby of loss that becomes part of one’s own body."

- Luther Hughes, Guest Judge


Runner-Up: Purvi Shah, "Wrangler"

"To exist, I think, is what charges this poem. Or, maybe, not 'exist,' but a move towards intentional existing—being aware of what’s around you or trying to move towards understanding one’s own body in reference to what’s around. I love this. I love that the poem is trying to tell the reader how to act or how to reckon with “being,” but through 'throbbing,' through this desire to live and create comes the welcoming song of belonging to something bigger than yourself. And the idea of 'wrangling,' being a 'wrangler,' is more than just the word’s tie to The West and the culture of cowboys, but is more about gathering everything we see and placing them within us—song and all."

 - Luther Hughes, Guest Judge

2023 Wabash Prize for Poetry Finalists
  • Jules Griswold
  • RJ Ingram
  • Karan Kapoor
  • Rose Zinnia



Winner: Areej Quraishi, "The Imam's Bride"

"This winning story so confidently takes the genre of South Asian speculative fiction and adds modern, realist concerns to it, such as ambition vs. homemaking, women’s right to work, and the demands of an ascetic life in an urbanizing world. The characters of the Imam and Suraya are both drawn vividly and powerfully, and the attention paid to minor characters—from Suraya’s younger brother to the Imam’s father—is brilliant and painstaking. This story takes a risk with content and creativity, and it pays off."

- Dur e Aziz Amna, Guest Judge


Runner-Up: Salvy Snr, "Farewell, Winter"

"What fluidity, what original style this story has. The tender, tentative relationship between Aman and David, and even between Amal and David, is drawn so beautifully. The recurring motif of Capri Sun, the forbidden desire and transgression that it denotes, is brilliant, and the political backdrop provided adds complexity to this coming-of-age story. I have no doubt that this is a writer of incredible potential."

- Dur e Aziz Amna, Guest Judge

2023 Wabash Prize for Fiction Finalists
  • Patrick Font, "Just Like Honey"
  • Susan Lin, "Provenance (A Love Story)"
  • Neal Lulofs, "Normal People"
  • Vandana Nair, "How to Kill a Character"







2023 wabash prizes in poetry & fiction




  1. Send one piece of fiction (up to 25 pages), or up to three poems of no more than six total pages (all poems should be compiled into a single document). Please submit a .doc, .docx or .rtf file only.
  2. A reading fee of your choice (submitted online) must accompany each submission. We are offering sliding scale submissions this year so that more people are able to submit. With a $16 submission fee, you’ll receive a free back issue. With a $20 submission fee, you’ll receive a copy of the prize issue. There are fee waivers available for BIPOC and/or trans writers, limited to the first 40 requests per genre. Please email Weiji at to request a fee waiver. 
  3. Multiple submissions are allowed, though they must be accompanied by an additional reading fee.
  4. Pages should be numbered.
  5. All entries will be read anonymously, with all author information removed. Information that identifies the author should NOT appear on the manuscript itself or in the file name.
  6. All work must be previously unpublished.
  7. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Please notify us immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.
  8. Each piece will be read by at least two Sycamore staffers, with the winner selected by the category’s final judge (Luther Hughes for Poetry, Dur e Aziz Amna for Fiction).
  9. All contest submissions will be considered for regular inclusion in Sycamore Review.
  10. When submitting, be sure to select “2023 Wabash Prize for Poetry” or “2023 Wabash Prize for Fiction” on Submittable.
  11. If you are personally affiliated with the judge of the category to which you wish to submit, please do not submit to the contest at this time.

Questions may be directed to

This contest is NOW CLOSED.

past judges

Julian K. Jarboe (Fiction 2021)

Joy Priest (Poetry 2021)

Leah Johnson (Fiction 2020)
Leila Chatti (Poetry 2020)
JY Yang (Fiction 2019)
Jos Charles (Poetry 2019)
Kiese Laymon (Nonfiction 2019)
Rachel Khong (Fiction 2018)
Hanif Abdurraqib (Poetry 2018)
Blake Butler (Nonfiction 2018)
Alissa Nutting (Fiction 2017)
Shane McCrae (Poetry 2017)
Brian Blanchfield (Nonfiction 2017)
Adam Johnson (Fiction 2016)
Reginald Dwayne Betts (Poetry 2016)
Michelle Tea (Nonfiction 2016)
Janet Burroway (Fiction 2015)
Kelly Link (Fiction 2015)
Mary Szybist (Poetry 2015)
Rebecca Makkai (Fiction 2014)
Bob Hicok (Poetry 2014)
C.D. Wright (Poetry 2013)
Cheryl Strayed (Nonfiction 2013)
Charles Baxter (Fiction 2013)
Louise Glück (Poetry 2012)
Antonya Nelson (Fiction 2011)
Jane Hirshfield (Poetry 2010)
Peter Ho Davies (Fiction 2010)
Mark Doty (Poetry 2009)
Tobias Wolff (Fiction 2009)
Billy Collins (Poetry 2008)
Richard Bausch (Fiction 2008)
Eavan Boland (Poetry 2007)
Dan Chaon (Fiction 2007)
Ellen Bryant Voigt (Poetry 2006)
Janet Burroway (Fiction 2006)
Tony Hoagland (Poetry 2005)

past winners

Elizabeth Tarver (Fiction 2021)

Megan Kim (Poetry 2021)

Karlyn Coleman (Fiction 2020)
Amy Sailer (Poetry 2020)
Mary Elizabeth Aubé (Fiction 2019)
Felicia Zamora (Poetry 2019)
Su Cho (Nonfiction 2019)
Joshua Riedel (Fiction 2018)
John Sibley Williams (Poetry 2018)
Jo-Ann Berelowitz (Nonfiction 2018)
Eric Van Hoose (Fiction 2017)
Alicia Wright (Poetry 2017)
B.G. Gaylord (Nonfiction 2017)
Caleb Tankersley (Fiction 2016)
Chelsea Dingman (Poetry 2016)
Kristen Nichols (Nonfiction 2016)
Alexander Lumens (Fiction 2015)
Micah Den Hicks (Fiction 2015)
Jody Rambo (Poetry 2015)
John Englehardt (Fiction 2014)
Matt Morton (Poetry 2014)
Cintia Santana (Poetry 2013)
Richard Froude (Nonfiction 2013)
Angie Kim (Fiction 2013)
Maya Jewell Zeller (Poetry 2012)
Joe B. Sills (Fiction 2011)
Nancy K. Pearson (Poetry 2010)
Adam Prince (Fiction 2010)
Lizzie Hutton (Poetry 2009)
Rachel Furey (Fiction 2009)
Jim Tilley (Poetry 2008)
Matthew Simmons (Fiction 2008)
Jude Nutter (Poetry 2007)
Jacob M. Appel (Fiction 2007)
Cindy May Murphy (Poetry 2006)
Jeff P. Jones (Fiction 2006)
Anna Journey (Poetry 2005)