September 6, 2023

Bedikian, Bassett win 2023 Raz-Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prizes

Lory Bedikian, Janelle Basset

Janelle Bassett (Left) and Lory Bedikian (Right)

The winner of the 2023 Raz-Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry is Lory Bedikian for “Jagadakeer: Apology to the Body,” chosen by guest judges Hilda Raz and Ed Roberson with Kwame Dawes, Glenna Luschei Editor-in-Chief of Prairie Schooner. Bedikian will receive a $3,000 award and publication by the University of Nebraska Press.

Ed Roberson praised Badikian’s poetry, writing, “the poet has created a monument of rage in facing the march of calamities against a life. Constant misfortune begins with their family displacement from a homeland, the multiple poverties of a refugee existence, through each parental and lover’s loss…. How deeply and broadly this rage can inform a life, the world will be very disconcerting — but yet rewarding — to many readers of this exquisitely composed work.”

Several of Bedikian’s poems received the First Prize Award in the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry as part of the 2022 Nimrod Literary Awards and are featured in the 44th issue of the Nimrod International Journal. Her poems were also selected as a finalist in the 2022 Contest from Black Warrior Review. Her collection, “The Book of Lamenting,” was awarded the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. Bedikian earned an MFA from the University of Oregon.

This year’s finalist manuscripts for poetry are “In the House Where I Love You,” by Julian Guy, “They’re Not Lying When They Tell You You’ll Dream of the Dead” by Mary Ardery, “Marrow Knife” by Idris Anderson, “Joystick the Wrecking Ball” by David Thacker, and “Strange Symbol” by Rob Shapiro.

The winner of the 2023 Raz-Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction is Janelle Bassett for her manuscript, “Thanks for this Riot,” chosen by Dawes and guest judges Cecily Wong and De’Shawn Charles Winslow. She will receive a $3,000 award and publication by the University of Nebraska Press.

Wong praised Bassett’s stories, noting that her “writing is energetic, hilarious and sharp-witted. The manuscript felt like a voyeuristic peek into the mind of someone who, hard as they try, cannot tame their rowdy opinions—like trailing a loveable friend that can’t be trusted in public.”

Bassett’s writing has appeared in The Rumpus, New Delta Review, Smokelong Quarterly, American Literary Review, The Offing, Washington Square Review, Wigleaf and Best Microfiction. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and is a fiction editor at Split Lip Magazine.

This year’s finalist manuscripts in fiction are “Goodness,” by Marilyn Abildskov, “The Light of Your Body,” by Ire’ne Lara Silva, and “Unusual Poisons,” by Matthew Pitt.

The competition runs from Jan. 15 to March 15 annually. Submission details are available online.

Previous winning poetry and fiction books are available through the University of Nebraska Press.

Founded in 1926, Prairie Schooner is a national literary quarterly published with the support of the English Department at University of Nebraska–Lincoln. It publishes fiction, poetry, essays and reviews by beginning, mid-career and established writers.

Visit the Nebraska Foundation site to support Prairie Schooner and the Raz-Shumaker Book Prize.